Starting with the 2012-2013 school year the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies is collaborating with the African American Policy Forum to host a series of blogs on topical issues using an intersectional lens. Guided by work being done in fields as diverse as law and the social sciences, our bloggers will deploy intersectional frameworks to question and articulate the stated and unstated assumptions concerning the lives and stories of everyday people and public figures that adorn the pages of the nation's leading newspapers and blogs.
What is Intersectionality?
Intersectionality is field of study first pioneered by Kimberlé Crenshaw. Intersectionality provides a way to think about and conceptualize the ways that people with multiple identities and community associations experience life events that often turn on and are shaped by one's unique axes of identity. Intersectionality is an expansive theory, and recognizes the unique combinations of socio-political identities and associations that people claim and identify with including, but not limited to: sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, class, disability, immigration status, and incarceration status.
Intersectionality's core contribution to the way that we think about community and individual experiences today is the recognition that a whole host of biological, social, and cultural categories and identities form complex axes of identity that interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels.
For example: Intersectionality recognizes that gender discrimination as a generalized phenomena is experienced differently by different people depending on what other identities and community association particular persons ascribe to. This means that two women who experience gender discrimination in the same workplace may, nevertheless, experience that discrimination differently if they are of different races or different sexual orientations.
Ultimately, intersectionality holds as a central tenet that the complex and often under-appreciated ways in which categories and identities interact play a central role in shaping the way individuals, groups, and broader society experience things like racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression.
Why is an Intersectional Lens Needed?
In our experience we noticed that traditional newspaper journalists and bloggers fail to pick apart the ways in which overlapping identities and associations of people that are the subject of news reporting inform or further color what is actually going on. As academics, pundits, students, and interested members of collective communities we have banded together with the intent to pick out some of the key news events and broaden the discussion beyond the scant facts reported to provide deeper and richer discussions linking current events to broader policy debates.
Though we are not limiting our committed bloggers to particular topics or takes on current events and hot topics, we are urging them to pay particular attention to a smattering of themes including:
- Threats to Affirmative Action and Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin
- Overincarceration and Overpolicing of Women and Girls of Color
- Employment Discrimination
- 2012 Presidential Election
- The Great Recession
|Luke Charles Harris|
Our featured writers this year include law students at Columbia Law School in New York City as well as Center fellows and African American Policy Forum fellows. In addition, our founders Kimberlé Crenshaw--the mother of intersectionality--and Luke Charles Harris--one of the nation's leading experts on affirmative action--will contribute periodically.
Check in with us every other week for the latest take on the news.