What is Intersectional Pedagogy?
Intersectional Pedagogy is an approach to teaching and learning by which inequality and exclusion resulting from intersecting social identities are understood, explained, and challenged. A successful intersectional approach must take into consideration individual complexity, systemic oppression, and should seek to unveil power while also making visible complex and layered aspects of oppression. As such, Intersectional Pedagogy is rooted in an understanding that:
- Identity is a complex layering of multiple social locations.
- Intersectionality is a mechanism for unveiling privilege, power, and oppression.
- The application of intersectionality in the classroom requires an emphasis on political social action.
- Curriculum must be opened to multiple voices and perspectives that highlight privilege and oppression
Benefits of Intersectional Pedagogy
The goal of Intersectional Pedagogy is to offer students new ways of understanding persistent patterns of inequality that both reflect and respect complexity and diversity. Pedagogically, the intersectional approach provides instructors and students with a critical framework for validating subjugated knowledge, unveiling power and privilege, examining the complexity of identity and developing action strategies for empowerment (Collins, 1990; Dill & Zambrana, 2009).
The benefits of intersectional pedagogical design include:
- White privilege awareness and acknowledgment of blatant racism (Cole, Case, Rios, & Curtin, 2011)
- Increased positive attitudes toward Muslim women (Greenwood & Christian, 2008)
- Increased openness to experience, taking the perspective of others and endorsement of a powerful group’s dominance over out-groups (Curtin, Stewart and Cole, 2015)
- Decreased over-emphasizing of any single characteristic or quality in the understanding of individual realities (Dill & Zambrana, 2009)
Case, K. Ed. (2016). “Toward an Intersectional Pedagogy Model: Engaged Learning for Social Justice,” in Intersectional Pedagogy: Complicating Identity and Social Justice. New York: Routledge, 2016.
Cole, E. R. (2016). “Forward,” in Intersectional Pedagogy: Complicating Identity and Social Justice, ed. Kim A. Case. New York: Routledge, 2016. (ix–xii.)
Cole, E. R., Case, K. A., Rios, D., & Curtin, N. (2011). Understanding What Students Bring to the Classroom: Moderators of the Effects of Diversity Courses on Student Attitudes. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17(4), 397-405.
Curtin, N., Stewart, A. J., & Cole, E. R. (2015). Challenging the Status Quo: The Role of Intersectional Awareness in Activism for Social Change and Pro-Social Intergroup Attitudes. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 39(4), 512-529.
Dill, B. T., & Zambrana, R. E. (2009). Emerging intersections: Race, class, and gender in theory, policy, and practice. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.
Greenwood, R. M., & Christian, A. (2008). What happens when we unpack the invisible knapsack? Intersectional political consciousness and inter-group appraisals. Sex Roles, 58.