Graduate Certificate in Intersectional Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

  • "You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it." - Grace Lee Boggs, American author, activist, philosopher, and feminist.

Build your understanding of the political importance of racial and related differences with a 12-credit graduate certificate.

As an admitted or enrolled UConn master’s or Ph.D. student, you have the opportunity to earn a graduate certificate in intersectional indigeneity, race, ethnicity, and politics (IIREP) at no additional cost to you.

Students must complete four pre-approved, 3-credit courses related to IIREP to meet the certificate’s requirement.

UConn graduate students studying social sciences, social work, law, history, or public policy will find this Storrs-based certificate an excellent opportunity to build strong intellectual foundations and enhance analytical skills.

In this program, you will...

  • Develop skills to think, write, and teach about the intersections of indigeneity, race, ethnicity, and politics in the U.S. and globally.
  • Be mentored by strong core and affiliate faculty researchers.
  • Join a community of graduate students from across the University with shared IIREP interests.
  • Craft dissertation projects compatible with contemporary demands of academic book publishing markets.

Program Details

Courses and Requirements

The Graduate Certificate in Intersectional Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (IIREP) is available to students already admitted to and enrolled in a graduate program at UConn.

Students are required to complete a total of four pre-approved 3-credit courses with significant IIREP content, earning a grade of B or higher in each.

In addition, all students enrolled in the certificate program are expected to participate in one reading group session each year in which all core faculty in the Department of Political Science (POLS) and enrolled students will read and discuss one IIREP book not assigned in any classes. IIREP graduate certificate students must also participate in one conference each year, sharing research undertaken in one of their IIREP courses.

Required Courses

Twelve 5000/6000-level course credits are required to complete the IIREP graduate certificate.

The coursework, approved by the Director of the IIREP graduate certificate program, shall include:

  • At least two, but no more than three, graduate seminars in political science
  • One graduate seminar with a U.S. focus
  • One graduate course that is international or global in scope

By “U.S.-focused,” we mean that at least three-quarters of course readings and discussions will deal with questions of race, ethnicity, and politics in the U.S. context. By “international” or “global,” we mean that at least three-quarters of course readings and discussion will deal with questions of race, ethnicity, and politics in an international or global context. To determine whether a particular course satisfies requirements (b) and (c), students selecting classes should consult with the director of the IIREP Graduate Certificate program, who will maintain a file of existing syllabi for pre-approved courses in and outside of POLS.

The graduate certificate program director may approve other courses in addition to those that are pre-approved.

Course Offerings for Fall 2022-Spring 2023

Fall 2022
Catalog number Course title Instructor Day Time/Place
EDLR 6468 Critical Race Theory Saran Stewart and Frank Tuitt Tu 4-6:30 pm Storrs
LAW 7810 American Indian Law Bethany Berger Tu 6:30-9:15 pm Law School
SOCI 5501 Racism and Ethnic Oppressions David Embrick Tu 12:30-3:30 pm Storrs
SWELL 5377 Urban Policy Louise Simmons Tu 6:45-9:15 pm Hartford
Spring 2023
Catalog number Course title Instructor Day Time/Place
ENGL 5530 World Literature in English Eleni Coundouriotis Tu 9:30 am-12 pm Storrs
ENGL 6400 American Ethnic Literature Martha Cutter Tu 9:30 am-12 pm Storrs
POLS 5330 International Organization and Law Jennifer Sterling-Folker Th 1:00-4:30 pm Storrs
POLS 5410 Black Feminist Theory and Politics Evelyn Simien W 6:30-9:00 pm Storrs
PHIL 5397 Global Southern Phenomenology Lewis Gordon Tu 2:00-4:30 pm Storrs
LAW 7655 Employment Discrimination Peter Siegelman MW 5:00-6:30 pm Law School
LAW 7814 Refugee Law Jon Bauer Th 2:00-5:00 pm Law School


Pre-Approved Courses

The following 3-credit courses have been pre-approved by the IIREP graduate certificate program. All instructors have consented to have their courses included. Because some of these courses use generic course numbers, the particular course title and instructor are also listed, along with the frequency of the course offering.

  • AMST 6000. Proseminar in American Studies; Chris Vials, English and American Studies.
  • AMST 6850. Crime, Policing, and Punishment in the US; Melanie Newport, History and American studies.
  • ANTH 5035. Anthropology of Social Justice and Injustice; Sarah Willen, Anthropology and Human Rights.
  • ANTH 5305. Race, Gender, and Science, Deborah Bolnick; Anthropology.
  • BASC 5300. Human Oppression, Miriam Valdovinos; Social Work.
  • COMM 5220. Group Communication, Shardé Davis; Communication.
  • COMM 5895. Cross-Cultural Communication; Diana Rios, Communication.
  • EDCI 5875. Multicultural Education; Mark Kohan, Education.
  • EDCI 5830/5847. Human Rights and Social Justice in Education; Glenn Mitoma, Human Rights and Education.
  • EDLR 6468. Critical Race Theory; Saran Stewart and Frank Tuitt, Education.
  • ENGL 5530. World Literature in English; Eleni Coundouriotis, English and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies.
  • ENGL 6400. American Ethnic Literature: Post-Reconstruction African American Literature; Shawn Salvant, English.
  • ENGL 6450. Special Topics in American Literature: Black Girl Magic; Katherine Capshaw, English.
  • ENGL 6450. Special Topics in American Literature: Black Abolitionists and Print Culture; Mary Ann Duane, English.
  • ENGL 6540. Seminar in Literature and Human Rights: Narratives of the Refugee Experience; Eleni Coundouriotis, English and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies.
  • ENGL 6400. American Ethnic Literature: Abolition and Slavery in Literary and Popular Culture; Martha Cutter, English.
  • ENGL 6400. American Ethnic Literature: Multi-Ethnic Graphic Narrative and the Idea of History; Martha Cutter, English.
  • ENGL 6400. American Ethnic Literature: African American Literature: Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem; Shawn Salvant, English.
  • ENGL 6530. Cold War Assemblages: Postcolonial Perspectives; Bhakti Shringarpure, English.
  • ENGL 6752. Feminism and Its Discontents; Bhakti Shringarpure, English.
  • GEOG 5840. Advanced Topics in Urban Geography; Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Geography.
  • GERM 6480. German-African Connections; Katharina Von Hammerstein, German.
  • HDFS 5312. Diverse Families: Adaptations Across the Lifespan; Linda Halgunseth, Human Development and Family Studies.
  • HIST 5195. Reconstruction; Manisha Sinha, History.
  • HIST 5235. The Making of the African Diaspora.
  • HIST 5525. Society and Culture in the Civil War Era.
  • HIST 5543. Social Change in 19th Century America.
  • HIST 5565. Topics in the History of Urban America.
  • HIST 5570. Making the Black Atlantic; Dexter Gabriel, History.
  • HIST 5610. Comparative Transnational Latin(o) Am. History.
  • HIST 5622. Historical Literature of Latin America.
  • HIST 5630. Historical Development of the Caribbean.
  • LAW 7380. Critical Identity Theory; Jamelia Morgan, Law.
  • LAW 7529. Immigration and Workplace Rights; Sachin Pandya, Law.
  • LAW 7655. Employment Discrimination; Peter Siegelman, Law and Jon Bauer, Law and Human Rights.
  • LAW 7703. Election Law, Doug Spencer; Law and Public Policy.
  • LAW 7777. Race and the American Legal System; Nadiyah Humber; Law.
  • LAW 7810. Indian Law, Bethany Berger; Law.
  • LAW 7814. Refugee Law; Jon Bauer, Law.
  • LLAS/SOCI 5525. Race, Immigration, and Reproduction; Marysol Asencio, Sociology.
  • LLAS 5105. Race and the Critical Traditions of U.S. Law in Latin America; Charles Venator, political science and Latino/a, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies.
  • LLAS 5610. Comparative Transnational Latin@ American History; Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, History and Latino/a, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies.
  • MENT 5639/MGMT 5639. Diversity and Inclusion. Joelle A. Murchison; School of Business.
  • PHIL 5310/POLS5800. Race in the Formation of the Human Sciences; Lewis Gordon, Philosophy.
  • PHIL 5325. Africana Philosophy; Lewis Gordon, Philosophy.
  • PHIL 5397. Alienation and Freedom OR Global Southern Phenomenology; Lewis Gordon, Philosophy.
  • POLS 5010 Political Bodies and the Body Politic; Sandy Grande, Political Science.
  • POLS 5105. Critical (Race) Theory; Fred Lee, political science and Asian and Asian American Studies.
  • POLS 5105. Settler Colonialism/Indigenous Thought and Practice; Jane Gordon, political science.
  • POLS 5330. International Organization and Law; Jennifer Sterling-Folker
  • POLS 5409. Special Topics in American Race, Gender, and Ethnic Politics, Evelyn Simien, political science and Africana Studies.
  • POLS 5410. Black Feminist Theory and Politics; Evelyn Simien, political science.
  • PSYC 6750. Stigma; Diane Quinn, Psychological Sciences.
  • PSYC 5170. Behavioral Sciences of HIV/AIDS; Seth Kalichman, Psychological Sciences.
  • PSYC 5170. Cross-Cultural Psychology; Narian Ramirez-Esparza, Psychological Sciences.
  • PSYC 5370. Ethnic Minority Psychology; Monnica Williams, Psychological Sciences.
  • SOC 5501. Racism Theory; Noel Cazenave, Sociology; Simon Cheng, Sociology; Manisha Desai, Sociology; Davita Silfen Glasberg, Sociology; Matthew Hughey, Sociology; Bandana Purkayastha, Sociology.
  • SOC 5501. Racism and Ethnic Oppression; David Embrick.
  • SWEL 5377. Urban Policy Issues; Louise Simmons, Social Work.
  • SWEL 5385. Human Rights and Social Work; Kathryn Libal (Community Organization and Human Rights) and S. Megan Berthold, Casework.
  • WGSS 5395. Decolonial Feminism; Elva Orozco Mendoza, Political Science.


Our core faculty explore the relationships among salient social identities; persistent, structuring inequalities; and the nature of domestic and international politics under the framework of indigeneity, race, ethnicity, and politics. These scholars bring their work into their classes, giving students direct access to cutting-edge research.

Our affiliated faculty span a variety of fields, from political science and law to health and public policy, exposing you to a wide range of perspectives.

Access to faculty of color as well as course content focused on questions of indigeneity, race, ethnicity, and politics will contribute to the diversification of those teaching and what is taught in the university of the future.

Required Reading

All students enrolled in the graduate certificate program will meet yearly with core faculty to discuss a new IIREP book. This 2022-23 academic year, we discuss Evelyn Simien's edited volume Historic Firsts in US Elections (Routledge 2022), on 9/28/2022 at 12:15 p.m. in 408 Oak. Paperback copies are free of charge for all IIREP core faculty and graduate students. Please contact for more information.

Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections: Trailblazing Candidates in Gubernatorial, Congressional, and Mayoral Campaigns

This book examines barrier-breaking figures across various types of elective offices and constituent groups. The moment in which historic firsts enter the electoral arena are shown to be symbolically empowering. These change agents on the campaign trail become lighting rods for more liberal policies, and their candidacies are tied to questions of representation, electability, and performance. The distinctive combinations of race, ethnicity, and gender identities represented here translate into voter excitement to go to the polls and participate in other ways. Original chapters consider how recent breakthrough elections are similar to yet different from past elections for gubernatorial, congressional, and mayoral offices. The shadow of Donald Trump’s wildly unconventional U.S. presidency looms over this groundbreaking analysis, linking local to national level politics.


UConn graduate student who complete the IIREP graduate certificate are able to:

  • Evaluate and produce research in a fast-growing political science subfield.
  • Engage classic and contemporary scholarship on intersectional indigeneity, ethnicity, and race in the U.S. and beyond.
  • Use their professional and personal networks with faculty and graduate students around common intellectual interests.

As a result, our alumni go on to fulfilling careers in academia, health care, public policy, and other fields where they can put their educations into action.

Meet Our Alumni

Derefe Chevannes

Ph.D. in Political Science

Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Memphis

Vialcary Crisóstomo Tejada

Ph.D. in Spanish

Assistant Professor of Spanish, University of Rochester

Gregory Doukas

Ph.D. in Political Science

Postdoctoral Fellow in Political Science, University of Memphis

Carol Gray

Ph.D. in Political Science

Postdoctoral Fellow in Political Science, Framingham State University

Ajhanai (Newton) Keaton

Ph.D. in Learning, Leadership, and Educational Policy; sport management concentration

Assistant Professor of Health and Human Sciences, University of Louisville

Josué Ricardo Lopez

Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

Assistant Professor of Decoloniality, University of Pittsburgh

Thomas Meagher

Ph.D. in Philosophy

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Sam Houston State University

Dana Francisco Miranda

Ph.D. in Philosophy

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Andrew Oravecz

Master in Public Policy

Area Health Education Center Director, Health360 (nonprofit)


The IIREP graduate certificate is available to students already admitted to and enrolled in a MA, MS, MPH, MA/Ph.D. or Ph.D. program at UConn or another institution that offers graduate-level degrees.

Before applying, all interested students must meet with the program director to make sure that the certificate can meet their interests. Before being admitted, interested students must also obtain consent from their advisor.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis in accordance with Graduate School guidelines.

Applicants are required to submit:

  • A graduate application form
  • A personal statement (approximately 350 words) explaining the relationship of the IIREP graduate certificate to your larger intellectual aims and endeavors
  • One letter of recommendation (when you enter the name and contact information of your letter writer, a link will be sent to them so that they can upload their letter)
  • Unofficial transcript of your course work completed to date
  • Major advisor approval form (this is only necessary if your letter of recommendation is not written by your major advisor)

Costs and Fees

There are no additional costs for enrolling in the IIREP graduate certificate for UConn graduate students.

Applicants already enrolled in a graduate program at UConn are eligible to waive the $75.00 Graduate School application fee. To do so, please contact

Contact Us

Potential applicants should contact the program director to make sure that their interests can be well met by the program.

Fred I. Lee

Director of the Graduate Certificate in Intersectional Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
Associate Professor of Political Science and Asian/Asian American Studies
Oak Hall, Room 431