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Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora Studies

The Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora Studies track is part of the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora.

The Major in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora Studies (RCD) provides a rigorous curriculum for the critical, comparative, and interdisciplinary study of societies and cultures of the Americas and around the world. This major connects the studies of race, ethnicity, indigeneity, colonialism, empire, transnational migration, and diaspora across national, hemispheric, transnational, and global frames. The RCD Studies Major prioritizes the knowledge drawn from struggles for social justice and political sovereignty, with attention to class, gender, sexuality, disability, religion, caste, and other kinds of social difference and hierarchy.

The Major draws on insights and methodologies of multiple disciplines, yoking together the interdisciplinary fields of Critical Race Studies, Critical Indigeneity Studies, and Postcolonial Studies of the Global South, and involves deep inquiry into the contestations, resistances, contradictions, and dialectics of social power, and the Indigenous, Black, and Global South futures that emerge as a result.

Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora Studies provide a vantage point onto society that connects national, hemispheric, transnational, and global frameworks. It serves Tufts University’s central commitment to civic engagement, preparing students to ethically share in the work of social transformation on local, national, and global levels. The RCD Studies Major will prepare students to negotiate their place as informed participants in and leaders of progressive social change.

Learning Objectives

  • study across the established tracks of the RCD Department
  • learn about diverse research methods and subject areas across the humanities and social sciences
  • develop an understanding of intersectional and critical approaches to the study of social power
  • develop understanding and appreciation for the cultural expression, worldviews, or political movements of one or more racial, ethnic, or indigenous groups or communities
  • have opportunities to use interdisciplinary methods, and conduct original research in at least one seminar class
  • develop an awareness of methodological rigor, and develop strong skills in research and writing
  • develop a clear understanding of the relations and interdependence between different kinds of racialization, indigenous cultural politics, colonial dynamics, and/or diasporic formations
  • have access to practice-based opportunities to reflect on the ethics and the stakes of knowledge production, with special attention to ethical considerations, such as: “whose knowledge is at the basis of our study?”, “how are we orienting ourselves to our study?”, and “to what end are we engaging in study?”

Major Requirements

The BA in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora Studies requires the completion of ten courses.

Requirement 1 (1 course):
RCD 50 Introduction to Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora

Requirement 2 (1 course):
RCD 150 Methods in Studies of Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora (focused on creating a research proposal as the learning product)

Requirement 3 (1 course):
RCD Research Seminar, or an approved cross-listed Research Seminar with a strong research component. This will provide students an opportunity to conduct original research and complete a research paper.

Requirement 4 (6 courses):
Six additional RCD courses (or cross-listed courses) with:

  • at least 3 courses contributing to a focal topic of choice (e.g., Africana Gender & Sexuality; Comparative Indigenous Performance; Global Latinx), designed in consultation with your RCD advisor. One of these courses must provide historical context for the student’s focal topic of choice. (In terms of the historical context requirement: the Director of Studies will dialogue with RCD instructors to determine which courses fulfill this requirement)
  • The focal topic should engage relational or comparative study, for example it might draw connections across at least 2 of the RCD’s tracks (i.e., Africana St., American St., Native American and Indigenous St., Latinx St., Asian American St., Colonialism St.)

Beyond these nine courses there are then three options to complete the major:

  1. RCD 195: A one-semester community-based or creative project that is complemented by active scholarship and advising
  2. RCD 198: A two-semester thesis. Note: students who choose to write a senior thesis are responsible for 5 additional RCD courses besides RCD 50, RCD 150, and the RCD Research Seminar.
  3. One additional course taken from the RCD curriculum (see list on the RCD website)


Students interested in pursuing a Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora Studies Major should contact track Director or RCD Department Administrator.

Jessica Touayl
Staff Assistant
Fung House, 2nd Floor

Nicole Frechette
Department Administrator
Fung House, 1st Floor