ethnic studies, in American education, programs offering courses in the history and culture of minority groups. Ethnic studies arose as a result of the black protest movement of the 1960s, which, among other things, deplored the lack of cultural relevance for African Americans in the curricula of the U.S. educational establishment. The contention was seconded by other non-European ethnic minorities. In the late 1960s, black history, literature, and interdisciplinary humanities courses were instituted at some universities to promote understanding of cultural heritage, analysis of political problems and solutions, and encouragement of artistic endeavors. To a lesser extent, other minorities, especially Chicanos (Mexican Americans) and other Hispanic Americans, have obtained similar course offerings.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on ethnic studies from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Education: Terms and Concepts