You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences Department of Critical Race, Gender & Culture Studies (CRGC)

Department of Critical Race, Gender & Culture Studies  (CRGC)

What is the CRGC?

The Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies (CRGC) is a vibrant and inclusive community of faculty and students that explores diverse voices, histories, and experiences through socially engaged scholarship:

CRGC Events

March 17 
Two Spirit Poetry with Xemi Tapepechul 

Xemi Tapepechul is an indigenous, two-spirit theatrical director, actor and author in D.C. redefining what it means to create Native Two-Spirit art. Tapepechul says their mission is to heal indigenous communities through art as a form of love and as a testament to indigenous resistance and resilience. Presented by American Studies.
Location: Battelle Atrium
Time: 2:30-3:45 pm 

March 24
Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Career Night

Come hear from people working in WGSS-related fields on their career paths. Ask questions, hear about their journeys, learn about what’s next for your WGSS degree (majors, & minors welcome!) Dinner will be served. 
Location: Battelle Atrium
Time: 6:30-8 pm 

February 1 - April 15 
Indigenous DC Field Trip Series 

Join fellow members of the AU community to explore sits of Native heritage and history in Washington, DC, following on the Guide to Indigenous DC walking tour app created by Dr. Elizabeth Rule. Meet up to ride to metro together or join the group on site to participate.  

For more information, join the e-mail list by writing to with the subject line "Indigenous DC Field Trips" 
Location: Kogod Shuttle Stop, 11 am *sign up required* 
Dates: Saturday February 1, Wednesday February 12, Saturday February 29, Wednesday March 18, Saturday April 4, Wednesday April 15

April 7
Student Forum with Dr. Kyle T. Mays

Come hear transdisciplinary scholar and public intellectual Dr Kyle Mays discuss the his current research on Afro/indigeneity, popular culture, and resistance in the making of modern urban America. Dr Mays is the author of Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America(SUNY Press, 2018) and his current project explores the links between Indigenous sovereignty and Black (American) belonging in U.S. history.

Presented by American Studies and African American & African Diaspora Studies. 

Location: Hughes Formal Lounge *sign up required* e-mail
Time: 12-2 pm


April 7
"All My People Rise up!": Blackness, Indigenous Popular Culture, and the Limits and Possibilities of Cultural Solidarity

A lecture by Dr. Kyle T. Mays, Assistant Professor, Department of African American Studies & the American Indian Studies Center, UCLA. This talk explores two questions. First, what is the relationship between blackness and indigeneity today? And second, what is Indigenous popular culture in the 21st century--and beyond? Using Hip Hop, writing, and fashion, this talk will discuss contemporary Indigenous popular culture as a form of what decolonial theorist Frantz Fanon called "combat literature." It will also offer a critical commentary on the intersections of Black and Indigenous people in popular culture, and speculates on what these relationships might look like going forward.

Presented by American Studies and African American & African Diaspora Studies. 

Location: Constitution Hall
Time: 7:30-9pm

April 15
CRGC Annual Brunch and Awards

Celebrating student achievement in  African American & African Diaspora Studies, American Studies, Asian Studies, Arab World Studies, and Women's Gender & Sexuality Studies. 
Location: Battelle Tompkins Atrium, Room 110
Time:  10-11:30 am

April 23
Visiting Indigenous DC Anthology Launch

A launch event for the inaugural Visiting Indigenous DC Anthology, students who participated in collective or individual visits to sites on Dr. Elizabeth Rule’s “Guide to Indigenous DC” app wrote reflections on their experiences that we will be gathering to share with friends, classmates, and colleagues. Contributors will be reading from their reflections and sharing their experience. Join us to reflect on Native heritage in DC and build community around Native experiences here at AU.
Location: Battelle Tompkins Atrium, Room 110
Time:  4-5:30 pm

Past Events

ASIA- 18 Sept Wednesday McDowell Formal 2:30 pm A Casual Conversation with a Zen Master 

AWST- 23 September Monday 1 pm - 6 pm in SIS Founders Room Symposium

CRGC-25 September The Bridge 7:30 pm The Welcoming Stage

ASIA 3-October Thursday Letts Formal 1 pm - 2:30 pm Mind-Only Buddhism and the Ethics of Universal Liberation

AWST-21 October Monday Mona Makram-Ebeid 3 pm - 4:30 pm 

AMST 22 October Tuesday 6 pm - 8 pm Voices of Youth < Letts Formal Lounge 

AWST-23 October

AFAM-30 October coronation celebration

AMST-31 Oct planning meeting 

AMST- 5 Nov 2- 4 pm lunch and learn


January 22
CRGC Presents the Welcoming Stage Open Mic Night

Join CRGC for a night of community, performance, pizza, and cafe drinks. Meet with faculty, reunite after winter break.
Location: The Bridge Cafe
Time: 7:30 - 9 pm



January 29
CRGC Presents Asian Studies Night

Come learn about the Asian Studies program, meet Asian Studies faculty members & hear how to combine Asian Studies with other majors. Enjoy Chinese catered dinner by Meiwah. 
Location: McDowell Formal Lounge
Time: 6 - 8 pm


February 5
Arab World Studies presents Dr. Sahar Khamis, Arab Women's Activism(s) and Resistance(s): Unfinished Gendered Revolutions

Join Arab World Studies and CRGC for this lecture followed by Q & A. Light refreshments will be served. 

Dr. Sahar Khamis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is an expert on Arab and Muslim media, and the former Head of the Mass Communication Department in Qatar University. She is the co-author of the books: Islam Dot Com: Contemporary Islamic Discourses in Cyberspace (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Egyptian Revolution 2.0: Political Blogging, Civic Engagement and Citizen Journalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). She is the co-editor of the book: Arab Women’s Activism and Socio-Political Transformation: Unfinished Gendered Revolutions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
Location: Hughes Formal Lounge
Time: 3 - 4:30 pm 


February 25
CAS Exploration Week; Step outside the box, explore CRGC & Sneak peek for Fall 2020

Come learn about majors, minors, electives, and AU Core classes with The Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies Collaborative. Meet informally with professors and grab lunch too.
Location: Battelle Atrium
Time: 12 - 1:30 pm 


ongoing - February 29 *** New Extended Deadline! 
Asian Studies invites you to enter the 6th annual essay contest

Download your entry form. E-mail entry form and essay in a single pdf document to For your e-mail subject please use "Asian Studies Essay Contest Entry." Must be a current American University Student in February 2020 to enter. 
Time: 11:59 pm on February 29 *New Extended Deadline! 

26 September Wednesday 3:30 pm - 5 pm McDowell Formal Lounge Is Justice Possible?: Arab and Muslim Americans in the Age of Trump

23 October Tuesday 6 pm - 8 pm McDowell Formal Lounge Voices of Youth   

25 October Thursday 6 pm - 9 pm Kerwin 2 Asian Film Nights Series 1 

1 November Thursday 6:45 pm - 8 pm MGC 315 Black LGBTQ Life in DC

13 November Tuesday 4 pm - 5:30 pm MGC 200 Muslim Women and White Femininity: Reenactment and Resistance Haneen al-Ghabra 

28 November Wednesday 12:30 pm - 2 pm Battelle Atrium Activism & The AIDS Crisis: Remembering the Significance of OUT! 

23 January The Bridge AU CRGC The Welcoming Stage

27 February Wednesday 7:30 pm - 9 pm Katzen Welcome Center Auditorium (2nd floor) BOOMscat 

6 March Wednesday 6pm MGC 3-5 What’s the feminist frequency? with Anita Sarkeesian

26 March Tuesday 7:30 - 8:30 pm MGC 200 The Truth about Awiti with CP Patrick

28 March Thursday 2:30 - 4:30 pm Kay Lounge Unacknowledged Echoes of Black Women: Disrupting Sexual Violence

3 April 11 SOC co sponsored event Stonewall 50

9 April Tuesday 2:30 - 4pm Palestinian Short Film with filmmaker - Kerwin 2 - 

10 April Wednesday 7:30 am - 6 pm Disability, Access, & Teaching: A One-Day Symposium 

11 April Thursday 7 - 8:30 pm MGC 2 North Korean Refugees: Escape, Adjustments, and the Role of English

16 April Tuesday 5:30 - 7 pm McDowell Formal Sexual Science & Transgender China

Data is forthcoming

Statement in Solidarity with Anti-Racist Efforts from CRGC

The faculty of the Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies join with protesters across the world to denounce police brutality and systemic anti-Black violence. 

Read the full statement


  • Tanja Aho won the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to an Inclusive Community for their impassioned commitment to fostering campus-wide discussions about how better to serve our disabled students and faculty.
  • Maria Gramajo, double major in American Studies and Women’s Gender, & Sexuality Studies, recently presented at three national conferences. In March 2020 at the Humanities and Education Research Association Conference in Chicago, she presented a paper entitled "This Is Our School Too: Queer and Trans Students of Color’s Narratives at American University”. In January 2020, at the LGBTQ Task Force Creating Change Conference in Dallas TX, she ran a workshop “Love in Color: QTPOC Storytelling.” In November 2019 at the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Conference in San Francisco, she presented her paper “Trans History(ies) and Future(s).”
  • WGSS Student Corinne Ahrens' article was published by Ms. Magazine on 13 April 2020.  Read her piece Schools Implement “Pink Box Project” to Make Menstrual Products Available Despite Closures. On 28 April 2020 they published her piece Trump Attempted to Move a Reporter to the Back of the Room. Nevertheless, She Resisted.
  • Prof. Sybil Roberts Williams, Director of African American & African Diaspora Studies, has won a Mellon Faculty grant for her proposal with Prof. Nancy Jo Snider of the Performing Arts Department: “Art, Politics and Identity: Community Transformations through Creation.” 
  • Prof. Alison Thomas’ American Studies course, Political Humor in Modern America: What's so Funny?(AMST-296-001) was chosen as one of the 17 most innovative courses taught this year in U.S. universities.
  • Prof. Sybil Roberts Williams Director of African American & African Diaspora Studies, took a group of students to Cape Town, South Africa over winter break to research the history of artists’ role in the struggle against apartheid.
  • Prof. Jin Y. Park delivered a talk “Derrida, Buddhism, and Ethical Imagination” at the University of Leiden, Leiden, the Netherlands, in December of 2019. 
  • Prof. Elizabeth Rule has won a CAS Mellon Grant to support her book project Rebuilding the Tribal/First Nation: Mohawk Girls and the Indian Act. She also presented “Indigenous Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning, Decolonizing” at AU’s Ann Ferren Teaching Conference.

  • Prof. Nikki Lane published a monograph with Palgrave Macmillan Press in 2019 entitled The Black Queer Work of Ratchet: Race, Gender, Sexuality, & the (Anti)Politics of Respectability.  This book takes seriously the way ratchet operates in the everyday lives of middle-class and upwardly mobile Black Queer women in Washington, DC who, because of their sexuality, are situated outside of the norms of Black respectability.
  • Prof. Tanja Aho, Prof. Elizabeth Rule, and Prof. Maddox Pennington won a grant from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion to develop an Indigenous DC Field Trip Series which is available to all AU students this semester.

  • Prof. Katharina Vester has won the Humboldt Fellowship to support her research on the history of dieting.
  • Prof. Morad Elsana participated in a panel at McGill University Law School on February 3 entitled “The Bedouins in the Negev: Legal Pluralism, Indigenous Rights, and Social Justice in Practice.”
  • Prof. Mustafa Gurbuz was featured in the Washington Post.
  • Prof. Bob Connelly was on the Emmy-Award winning team behind the Nat Geo show "Weird But True!" Bob serves as their head of research. Read more about their Emmy win.  
  • Prof. Irene Calis was invited by the Afro-Middle East Centre in Pretoria, South Africa, to speak at their October colloquium  “A Playground for foreign powers: The MENA region as a target for foreign intervention.” 
  • Prof. Martyn Oliver, Director of Arab World Studies, wrote and recorded a 12-part lecture series “Introduction to the Quran” for the Great Courses series.
People no faces

Announcement ·

AU Launching New Department of Critical Race, Gender & Culture Studies

Read More

David J. Vázquez

Announcement ·

David Vázquez Joins AU to Build Latinx Studies Program

Read More

BOOMscat perform in front of AU students

On Campus ·

An Evening with BOOMscat

Read More