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Toward a Field of Intersectionality Studies: Theory, Applica

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Melissa Fox

on 26 September 2013

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Transcript of Toward a Field of Intersectionality Studies: Theory, Applica

Toward a Field of Intersectionality Studies: Theory, Applications, and Praxis

Sumi Cho, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, and Leslie McCal

“[I]ntersectionality helps reveal how power works in diffuse and differentiated ways through the creation and deployment of overlapping identity categories” (797)

Kathleen Harding and Melissa Fox
“This field can be usefully framed as representing three loosely defined sets of engagements: the first consisting of applications of an intersectional framework or investigations of intersectional dynamics, the second consisting of discursive debates about the scope and content of intersectionality as a theoretical and methodological paradigm, and the third consisting of political interventions employing an intersectional lens” (785)
There is no “essential subject of intersectionality” (789)
”…the future development of intersectionality as a field would be advanced by maximizing the interface between the centrifugal and the centripetal processes” (794).

“The future of intersectionality studies will thus, we argue be dependent on the rigor with which scholars harness the most effective tools of their trade to illuminate how intersecting axes of power and inequality operate to our collective and individual disadvantage and how these very tools, these ways of knowing, may also constitute structures of knowledge production that can themselves be the object of intersectional critique” (795-796).

Should the analysis of power be privileged over that of identity when engaging in intersectionality studies?
Should intersectionality studies focus exclusively on marginalized/subordinate groups or would it be more beneficial to incorporate all aspects of an individual or group identity?

“Political intersectionality provides an applied dimension to the insights of structural intersectionality by offering a framework for contesting power and thereby linking theory to existent and emergent social and political struggles” (800)
Chandra Talpade Mohanty
“’Radical theory can in fact become a commodity to be consumed; no longer seen as a product of activist scholarship or connected to emancipatory knowledge, it can circulate as a sign of prestige in an elitist, neoliberal landscape’
(Mohanty 971)” (805).
A Template for
a Collaborative Intersectionality
"Our objective is not to offer pat resolutions to all questions about intersectional approaches but to spark further inquiry into the dynamics of intersectionality both as an academic frame and as a practical intervention in a world characterized by vast inequalities" (807).
Mohanty demonstrates how neoliberalism can turn intersectionality into a commodity to be consumed; a superficial sign of prestige.

What are some other ways that neoliberalism – and the privatization of education – might compromise the way intersectionality is taken up across disciplines?”

Has your experience with intersectionality (in Women's Studies, another discipline, or praxis) been more centrifugal or centripetal?

Centrifugal - moving away from centre; adopting and conforming to disciplinary standards
Centripetal - moving towards a centre; and away from disciplinary standards and conventions
Beyond Superficial Uptake:

Challenges to Developing
a Field
of Intersectionality Studies
Full transcript