Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race


The Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER) was created in response to a student strike in 1996. That year, students advocated for the creation of an academic unit dedicated to the study of ethnicity and race. Three years after the strike, the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race was founded under the direction of Professor Gary Okihiro. Initially, the Center housed two majors: Asian American Studies and Latino Studies. In 2004, CSER added a third major: Comparative Ethnic Studies. In 2010, CSER joined part of its undergraduate program with Barnard College's Interdisciplinary Concentration on Race and Ethnicity (ICORE) and created a single major: Ethnicity and Race Studies. In addition, CSER became the home of Native American/Indigenous Studies as an area of specialization.

At present, CSER continues to be Columbia's main interdisciplinary space for the study of ethnicity and race and their implications for thinking about culture, power, hierarchy, social identities, and political communities. The Center also offers a wide range of public programming, including Artist at the Center, Indigenous Forum, the Latino Public Speaker Series, and the Transnational Asian/American Speaker Series. CSER's most recent additions include the Media and Idea Lab and the Gallery at the Center, with the Gallery being a space dedicated to curating artistic and thematic exhibits around the Center’s key areas of interest.