The Department of Ethnic, Gender, Historical, and Philosophical Studies encompasses the breadth and diversity of the ways human cultures have developed, refined, and struggled over key ideas related to the human experience and how we understand what it is to be human, including: identities of self and community; what constitutes knowledge, reality, and perception; histories of human achievement, failure and endeavor; and the role of important social and cultural categories and collective markers of difference and similarity between and within human communities (faith, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality). The curricular offerings of the department give students key critical tools to live and work in a diverse society.
Ethnic Studies critically examines concepts of race, ethnicity, and culture in relation to identities, communities, and diverse socio-cultural formations. Using an interdisciplinary lens, Ethnic Studies interrogates the different social, economic, cultural, and political forces that have shaped the experiences of racial-ethnic communities in the United States. The program offers comparative courses that focus on intersectional issues of race and ethnicity, including the intellectual histories of our concepts of race, along with group-specific courses that study the histories and experiences of Asian Americans, Black/African Americans, Indigenous peoples and nations, and Latinas/os.
Religious Studies analyzes different world religious traditions to develop a critical understanding of how religion and spiritual beliefs influence and shape society, culture, politics, and collective and individual identities. The program offers survey courses that study and compare various global religious traditions, as well as tradition-specific courses on Christianity, Islam, Judaism, different polytheistic practices, and courses on the culture and politics of different faith traditions in historical and contemporary frameworks.
Gender Studies offers students an interdisciplinary examination of the role of gender across the spectrum of human experience, investigating how gender functions and shapes the lives and experiences of all people, including the institutional, social, and scientific forces that create meaning around gender; the struggles and achievements of women across cultures and time; and the study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender identities and communities.
In history classes, students learn about the actions and ideas of leaders as well as ordinary people around the world, based on primary and secondary sources—meaning accounts from the time being studied and later scholarly writings. In this way students come to see that history is not a perfectly objective chronicle of the past, but rather an interpretation of that past. Our goal is to empower students to develop a discerning eye on the stories about the past that are presented as the simple truth.
Philosophy studies at Metro State emphasize the ways philosophy can be useful to people who want to think more clearly, to see through 'spin' and propaganda, to improve their understanding of values and principles, and to orient themselves in a challenging world.