Pacific Islander students from SOU

SOU to offer Pacific Islander Studies course

(Ashland, Ore.) —Southern Oregon University will offer a course this spring on Pacific Islander Studies, as part of the university’s new Ethnic and Racial Studies Program. The course – ERS 399, Introduction to Pacific Islander Studies – will offer students the opportunity to learn about, and from, the Oceania and the Moana peoples.

Pacific Islander Studies instructor Kris GalagoInstructor Kris Haina Galago, a Native Hawaiian scholar and Pacific Islander advocate, will share her knowledge and experiences.

“It is my hope that by teaching this course, I can bring Pacific Islander perspectives and presence to SOU and add to the growing and thriving Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander student community,” Galago said. “Students will be encouraged to join the conversation, contribute to the learning community and share lived experiences.”

Students will examine Pacific Island peoples’ origins and migration theories, the Pasifika hip-hop/island reggae movement, Polynesian sports representation, kava drinking ceremonies and more. The experiences of those who represent the largest populations in the United States will be examined, including Tongan, Samoan, Hawaiian and Maori.

The in-person course with a Zoom option will be offered on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 3:30 to 5:20 p.m., beginning March 28. SOU students can enroll in ERS 399, Introduction to Pacific Islander Studies, by using the CRN 7194.

To apply for admission to Southern Oregon University visit: Community members age 65 and over can audit the course tuition-free when space is available and with instructor approval; for details, visit

To learn more about the Ethnic and Racial Studies Program, visit

SOU launched the Ethnic and Racial Studies Program last fall, offering a 24-credit ERS minor. Learners in the program critically examine the myths and contradictions of race and racism, and explore what purposes these constructs serve in societies where hierarchies and inequalities exist. Students analyze the complex intersections of race and ethnicity within U.S. political and social structures, gaining insights into historic and contemporary racial inequality. They consider the effectiveness of various solutions put forth by public policy, academics and community activists.

The addition of the course in Pacific Islander studies advances SOU’s commitment to a diverse, equitable, inclusive community where learners will flourish.