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Diversity and Intersectionality

Studies in Religion, Education and Values

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Jeff Astley and Leslie J. Francis

This volume brings together two core concepts that are central to understanding the social and public significance of religions and theologies within the contemporary world and are therefore of key importance to the discipline of religious education: diversity and intersectionality. Religious diversity requires an understanding of religions and theologies and their roles within a plural society. However, the effect of the intersectionality of multiple social identities on a person’s flourishing illuminates the ways in which the broader complexity of diversity must be viewed from different perspectives.

These core constructs were brought together in a recent conference convened by the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values, the leading international association for religious educators across the world. This volume presents twelve key contributions made to the seminar, spanning both conceptual and empirical approaches, and represents a unique collection of international perspectives on the interlocking themes of intersectionality and diversity.

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1 Is there a Place for Intersectionality in Research on Religious and Values Education?

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ABSTRACT

This chapter begins with a discussion on the concept of intersectionality from the time of its ‘founding mothers’, and the struggles that followed to establish the concept in the research arena. The next section looks back at four of the seminal works on intersectionality, in an attempt to sketch out some of the theoretical and methodological discussions in the field. Thereafter, I explore the use of religion as a category in relation to intersectional work. In the last section of this chapter, I examine some examples from my own research, trying to do so from an intersectional viewpoint. Also, at the end of the chapter, I briefly discuss intersectionality and education in relation to the concepts of ‘multicultural’ and ‘intercultural’, often used when working with diverse social positions and in analysing exclusions and inclusions ‘in play’ in the classroom. I will pose the following questions: Is it time to change the concept of interculturality to intersectionality? What would possibly be gained by doing that?

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