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School of Languages, Cultures, and Race College of Arts and Sciences

Message from the Director

(July 2020)Carmen Lugo-Lugo

On Monday, July 6, 2020, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued an order about international students. Mainly, according to the order, international students “attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.” The order specifically stipulates that international students in the United States whose schools have decided to offer online-only classes in the Fall 2020 semester must leave the United States. For details about the order go here.

As Director of the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race, I must always uphold its values, including competency in world cultures and languages, cultural understandings of race and race relations, inclusivity and respect for all cultures and national backgrounds, and a true understanding of cultural diversity. I believe the order issued by ICE, the obvious result of fear and even xenophobia, speaks against those values at the expense of our international students and their contributions to the US economy and culture (mainly, international students contribute $41 billion dollars to the US economy every year, universities and research programs depend on revenue from international students, and STEM companies thrive and depend on global talent educated by our universities). In addition, and because of the possible economic strain the order may put universities under, they may feel compelled to operate face to face, risking the heath of students, faculty, and staff.

These are difficult times and we should be supporting each other and our students, not trying to make things more difficult. Students deserve better. Thus, I am in support of any efforts seeking ICE to change their directive, including the following online petition, and the lawsuit against ICE filed by Harvard and MIT.

In solidarity,

Dr. Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo
School of Languages, Cultures, and Race

(Summer 2020)

Those of us who study race and American culture understand that the violence behind the killing of George Floyd by police officers was not the result of “four bad apples.” All four officers, who had been trained and were acting on behalf of the State, collectively, saw nothing wrong with asphyxiating a Black man to death. This behavior is the result of a society that has historically, consistently, and systematically devalued the lives of Black Americans. Racial inequity and racial(ized) state violence are the logical extensions of such devaluing. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, it presents us with another display of racial inequity as the death toll within communities of color (especially Black and Latinx communities) is staggering. The massive loss of employment within the lowest-wage earners, and the fact that many of those who work in the service industry are workers of color add to this history of systemic racism. Racialized state-sponsored violence must be condemned, documented, and protested. We must also continue our task of furthering principles of social justice in the classroom, the page, and the streets while creating safe spaces for the members of our community who are suffering the consequences of our history.

In Solidarity,

Dr. Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo
School of Languages, Cultures, and Race





(Spring 2020–SLCR in the Times of COVID-19)

The School of Languages, Cultures, and Race urges all members of its community—our students, faculty and staff—to be safe and stay safe during this unprecedented time. We are now under a State Executive Order to stay in our homes, but we are all still working toward our common goal of delivering a high-quality CES instruction and language education together. Our faculty worked extremely hard over the Spring Break to be ready for the process of distance learning. On March 24, 2020 they began with this new format.

Considering the difficulties that lie ahead, I would encourage everyone (students, faculty, and staff) to practice empathy and compassion toward each other. If you are a student experiencing financial difficulties, we encourage you to call the Office of the Dean of Students and inquire about its Student Emergency Fund ( 335-5757 or We also encourage you to stay in touch with your classmates and your professors–make sure you communicate with your professors. This is of utmost importance.

And for everyone: Let’s continue to use social media to stay in touch with each other and to tell our stories, as we develop new ways of working and new ways of learning. Academics are consecrated storytellers, and we need to tap into that particular skill set right now to document this new reality as it unfolds.

Stay safe and be well,

Dr. Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo
School of Languages, Cultures, and Race


(Fall 2019)

Dear Students, Alumni, and Wider WSU Community:

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race (SLCR). We just celebrated our first year of existence! SLCR was the result of faculty in Comparative Ethnic Studies and Foreign Languages and Cultures coming together to create a unit dedicated to the study of language and cultural production, as well as social justice and social transformation.

The process leading to the formation of the school took two years and the result brought together students and faculty at four WSU campuses (Pullman, Tri-Cities, Vancouver, and Global) interested in a diverse array of academic areas and fields of inquiry: African American studies; Asian Pacific American studies; cultures of Europe, Latin America, and Asia; embodiment; ethnic/racial and cultural identity; food justice, language acquisition; language pedagogy; Latina/o Studies; linguistics; literatures from around the world; popular culture and cultural productions in the U.S. and around the globe (including cultural texts, film, media, television, and sports); rhetoric on race and racism; theories of race and ethnicity; and textual translations.

Today, SLCR offers a bachelor of arts degree in comparative ethnic studies, and bachelor of arts degrees in foreign languages and cultures including Chinese, French, German (as a second major), international studies, Japanese, and Spanish. Options for minors include American Indian studies, Chinese, comparative ethnic studies, French area studies, film, German, global studies, Japanese, Latin American area studies, popular culture, and Spanish.

SLCR also offers a doctorate in American Studies.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the school staff who manage so many of the day-to-day details and will be integral to keeping the school functioning properly: Tom Forbes, Sherley Alvarez, Kris Rollins, Melissa Bills, and Ben Weller. I would also like to acknowledge our advisors Anna Chow, Laurie Heustis, and Alma Rocha for the amazing work they do. Finally, thanks to Lauren Jasmer, Daniel Liera-Huchim, Amira Albagshi, and Maddie Goebel, who worked with us at different stages as the School was forming and developing.

During our first year, we started working on making changes to both the undergraduate and graduate curricula, including a heavy restructuring of the American Studies Ph.D. program, of which we are very proud. On our second year, we will continue to work on restructuring curricula and developing our own identity. We want SLCR to become a leading example in successful interdisciplinary collaboration and coexistence, a premier research and scholarly hub in the humanities and social sciences.

Please stop by to see us and share your thoughts!


Carmen R. Lugo-Lugo, Ph.D.
Director, School of Languages, Cultures, & Race
Professor, Comparative Ethnic Studies and American Studies