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Intersectionality & Higher Education

Theory, Research, & Praxis

Edited By Donald Jr. Mitchell, Charlana Simmons and Lindsay A. Greyerbiehl

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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Chapter Nineteen: Utilizing Intersectionality to Engage Dialogue in Higher Education


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Discussions of social identity intersections are critical in examining systems of privilege and oppression and engaging social justice dialogue throughout academia. In praxis, conceptual models can become useful mechanisms for delivering interactive educational sessions where participants build awareness about their own social identities, as well as perspectives different than their own. This chapter introduces an adapted model of Intersections of Identities (Taylor, 2011) that can be utilized in the facilitation of social justice training programs with faculty, staff, students, and community members to advance understandings of our multiple, intersecting social identities.

The Intersections of Identities model presents the concept of intersectionality as a tangible, practical catalyst for self-reflection and dialogue. The model is useful in establishing the training foundation before discussing context and salience of identities, historical and current systems of oppression, power and privilege, and participants’ individual and collective roles in perpetuating and interrupting those systems. Utilized in practice, the model encourages self-reflections on identity and is based on the conceptual framework presented by the Model of Multiple Dimensions of Identity (Jones & McEwen, 2000) as well as the Social Identity Wheel (Alimo & Treviño, 2000). This chapter reviews the relevant literature on identity intersectionality, outlines a process for facilitating dialogue using the Intersections of Identities model, and offers implications for practice.

While not named as such, the concept of intersectionality was first expressed by notable...

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