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Intersectionality & Higher Education

Theory, Research, & Praxis

Edited By Donald Jr. Mitchell, Jakia Marie and Tiffany Steele

Intersectionality is a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. A scholar of law, critical race theory, and Black feminist thought, Crenshaw used intersectionality to explain the experiences of Black women who – because of the intersections of race, gender, and class – are exposed to exponential forms of marginalization and oppression. Intersectionality & Higher Education documents and expands upon Crenshaw’s ideas within the context of U.S. higher education. The text includes theoretical and conceptual chapters on intersectionality; empirical research using intersectionality frameworks; and chapters focusing on intersectional practices. The volume may prove beneficial for graduate programs in ethnic studies, higher education, sociology, student affairs, and women and gender studies alike.
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Introduction

← xvi | 1 → Introduction

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DONALD MITCHELL, JR.

Living with and navigating multiple, intersecting identities is not a new phenomenon (Yuval-Davis, 2013). Perhaps W. E. B. Du Bois’s (1903/2010) articulation of double consciousness was an expression of the intersection of being both American and an American of African descent and the complexities of navigating those identities. And perhaps Martin Luther King, Jr.’s difficult decision to distance himself from civil rights activist Bayard Rustin—who openly identified as gay (Branch, 1989)—captured the complexities and intersections of religion, politics, and social justice. However, using the term intersectionality to discuss these experiences was introduced by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a scholar of law, critical race theory, and Black feminist thought, in 1989. She used intersectionality to explain the experiences of Black women who, because of the intersection of race and gender, are exposed to exponential forms of marginalization and oppression.

In addition to Crenshaw, other women of color scholars have also contributed to the widespread recognition of intersectionality, such as Patricia Hill Collins, Bonnie Thornton Dill, Ange-Marie Hancock, and bell hooks. Because of increased recognition and appreciation for intersectionality as a framework, it is now used more broadly to define (a) the intersecting identities of individuals beyond women of color (e.g., Strayhorn, 2013), (b) power relations among groups (e.g., Yuval-Davis, 2013), and (c) research paradigms used to design empirical studies exploring multiple and interlocking identities (e.g., Griffin & Museus, 2011; Hancock, 2007). Intersectionality now garners attention in education, law, ← 1 | 2 → philosophy, political...

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