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Intersectionality

Cynthia Fabrizio Pelak


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Most gender scholars agree that to understand historical and contemporary gender relations one must be attentive to how race, class, and other systems of power intersect with gender. The general consensus around intersectionality has emerged from an evolving interdisciplinary body of theory and practice that emphasizes the simultaneity of oppressions, the interlocking systems of inequalities, and the multiplicity of gendered social locations. Legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989, 1991) was one of the first to use the term intersectionality to draw attention to the marginalization of black women's experiences within single-axis frameworks of anti-discrimination laws, feminist theories, and anti-racist politics. Sociologist Patricia Hill Collins (2000 : 18) defines intersectionality as “particular forms of intersecting oppressions, for example, intersections of race and gender, or of sexuality and nation.” She goes on to say: “intersectional paradigms remind us that oppression cannot be reduced to one fundamental type, and that oppressions work together in producing injustice.” Intersectionality has its roots in numerous intellectual traditions, such as socialist feminism, race and ethnic studies, and postcolonial feminisms. The various identifiers of the projects in which intersectionality is central – black feminism, womanism, multiracial feminism, third world feminism, postcolonial ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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