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Concepts, Models, and Experiments

Intersectionality

Roopika Risam

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Salem State University | Department of English | Website

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The official reviewing period for this keyword has ended, and commenting is closed. You may also wish to read the description of the anthology, guidelines on how to comment, and the list of keywords.

CURATORIAL STATEMENT

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 1 In 1989, critical race scholar and legal theorist, Kimberlé Crenshaw, coined the term “intersectionality” to address connections between dimensions of oppression that shape lived experience. In her work with women living in domestic violence shelters in Los Angeles, Crenshaw observed that black women were disproportionately affected by the compounding effects of race, gender, and class. At the same time, contemporary discourse on feminism failed to account for the specific needs of women of color, while anti-racist movements have failed to attend to the needs of women (1243-4). Crenshaw’s influential formulation has been expanded over time to reflect a broader range of intersections of identity categories and axes of oppression that produce and preclude privilege, shaping lived experience around the world (Carbin and Edenheim; Purkayastha; Davis).

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 1 Curatorial statements in this collection, keywords such as “Queer,” “Sexuality,” and “Gender” can only be understood in terms of their relationships to each other, as well as to other categories such as race and class. Therefore, intersectionality itself is an essential keyword because it provides language and a theoretical basis for conceptualizing the matrices that shape both lived experience and oppression—and for using this mode of thought to develop digital literacy and critical thinking skills with students.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 1 In the context of pedagogy, intersectionality asks students to think beyond narrow binaries that overdetermine contemporary discourse on identity and power. It offers them a framework through which they can deconstruct their own subject positions and better understand the privileges and politics that are shaping their lives. Because intersectionality moves beyond single-issue approaches to identity, it promotes development of allyship and counters the effects of public discourse that pits identity categories against each other. Blending intersectionality with digital pedagogy enables students to become critical users and makers of technology. Through intersectional digital pedagogy, students articulate their own identities and the role of technology and culture in constructing these identities. Additionally, they are better equipped to understand the development of technology in the contexts of culture, history, and literature.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 3 The artifacts collected here include student work, standalone assignments, assignment sequences, and course syllabi that position intersectionality at the heart of inquiry and embody intersectional digital pedagogy. They represent the materials that have influenced my “Race and Cyberspace” course, a first-year seminar that engages students with intersectional approaches to race, gender, class, and other axes of identity within cultures of technology. Attending to a vast range of institutional contexts, these artifacts take advantage of open source, out-of-the-box tools and cheaply available technologies that can be easily incorporated into classes at universities without access to high-powered computing resources, digital humanities centers, or substantial financial resources. They offer students the opportunity to explore a range of intersecting identities, while foregrounding methods that can be adapted for a variety of course topics. These artifacts combine theoretical analysis with hands-on, experiential learning, while demonstrating that digital pedagogy can be incorporated across multiple disciplines. While promoting digital literacies, they also foster collaboration. Moreover, they represent the broadest conception of digital methods, from digital cultural mapping, new media analysis, and data visualization to digital storytelling and digital archives to videogames and wearables. In doing so, the artifacts here demonstrate how an intersectional lens can facilitate a range of approaches to digital pedagogy that take into account the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, nation, and other axes of oppression.

CURATED ARTIFACTS

“Runaway Quilt Project: Digital Humanities Exploration of Quilting During the Era of Slavery”

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9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 Deimosa Webber-Bey’s article details her experience creating components of what would become The Runaway Quilt Project during a set of digital humanities courses taught by Chris Alen Sula at the Pratt Institute. Drawing on her work as an African and African American Studies scholar and experienced quilter, Webber-Bey’s project explores the claim that quilts served as signs along the Underground Railroad. She created a range of digital projects: data visualizations in Tableau Public, digital annotations using Digress.it, word frequency analysis through Google N-grams Viewer, a timeline in TimelineJS, geospatial mapping using Leaflet Maps Marker, and network analysis in Cytoscape. This collection of assignments demonstrates how students can undertake multiple, small-scale analyses around a single research topic that together provide a multi-pronged approach to answering a research question. It further suggests how students can draw on their personal experiences at intersections of their identities to develop a digital project.

“Digital Ethnography”

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12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 The digital ethnography assignment designed by Lori Ostergaard positions intersectionality at the heart of the rhetorical and ethical dimensions of the internet. Among the goals for Ostergaard’s course are “study and apply theories of digital culture and its effects on online communities, especially in relation to ethnicity, gender, class, physical ability, and sexual orientation.” After initial assignments examining students’ own online identities and researching emerging media forms, the digital ethnography assignment requires them to interact with and analyze online communities as participant-observers. In their guided analysis, students apply their understanding of intersectional theories of identity to their study of the online community. They also produce a multimodal final project on the community, composing either a hyperlinked website or article, wiki article, narrarated slideshow, or documentary video. This assignment encourages students to understand the relationship between online and offline identities by examining behaviors and language used in online communities. In their applied analysis, students explain knowledge of how the internet is grounded in intersecting axes of oppression. While this assignment is useful for ethnography, I have used it in my own classes for autoethnography – asking students to examine their own interactions with others online through platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat, and Yik Yak. This exercise enabled students to think critically about their own role as users and creators of online content. They further reflected on how the intersecting dimensions of their own identities shape their experiences online and their attitudes about life offline.

“Women Writing Worldwide Global Focus Mapping Project”

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15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Through the assignment “Women Writing Worldwide,” Jenn Brandt’s students explore the affordances of digital cultural mapping for understanding the relationship between transnational feminist theory and global contemporary women’s fiction. She contends that mapping engages students from diverse backgrounds and connects them to the issues that affect women’s lives around the globe. Students begin by using the Tour Builder storytelling tool in Google Earth to map their own lives and tell their own stories. After connecting them to the platform through their own experiences, Brandt asks students to map the course material. In the collaborative project, each student is assigned a country and asked to research its context for women’s experiences. This assignment is significant for intersectional digital pedagogy because it challenges the students to think critically about the different experiences of oppression of women around the world and to understand the global as an assemblage of the local.

“Teaching with Tumblr: Building a Digital Archive of Gender, Race & Empire”

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18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 Drawing on her background in interactive and participatory pedagogy, Bianca Murillo discusses her use of the microblogging platform, Tumblr, to build a digital archive with her students. Through their work on Gender, Race & Empire, students examined connections between sexuality and colonialism through the lens of contemporary racism. This assignment gave students hands-on experience with using Tumblr to create an archives. In doing so, they were given hands-on experience in the constructedness of archives, specifically how the discipline of history and archives themselves are shaped by race, sexuality, and colonialism. It further reflects how user-friendly, consumer social media platforms can be used for digital pedagogy. Murillo notes that assessment posed a challenge, which is a common concern for instructors undertaking projects that do not fit common genres of assignments. She chose not to grade individual posts but to offer collective feedback in class. Students had mixed reviews for this approach to assessment but also indicated that it offered them freedom to experiment. Paired with exploration of other digital archives and material archives, this class project offers the possibility for interrogating the definitions and limits of archives as well as the effectiveness of using a platform like Tumblr as a medium.

“Latina Life Stories”

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21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 Rita Benmayor’s work with students on Latina Life Stories at California State, Monterey Bay, connects students with the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, immigration status, sexuality, and technology. After studying writing by Latinas of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, Chicana, and mixed heritage, students produce digital stories exploring their own identities and experiences. In these stories, Benmayor’s students share personal and family histories on themes like bodies, migration, and violence. By encouraging students to produce digital stories, Benmayor helps them find their own voices as writers and to reflect on their own histories, situated at the intersections of their identities. Additionally, the assignment suggests how students can be critical makers of technology, blending recorded narrative with visuals to bring their personal stories to life.

“Teaching Twentieth Century Art History with Gender and Data Visualizations”

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24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 In this article, Nancy Ross describes her approach to teaching gender and sexuality in 20th century art history with interactive data visualization. Ross speaks to the challenges of teaching about gender and sexuality at a conservative university in Utah, suggesting that engaging students with art through a new approach facilitates their understanding and experiences with the topics. Through data visualization assignments, Ross’s students used network analysis to explore connections between women artists and their interlocutors, taking into account sexuality as well. The assignment challenged students to think critically about their assumptions about artists who are women, such as their tendency to interpret women’s work through biographical data or their assumptions that these artists were all heterosexual. Students are given the opportunity to challenge their own biases, prejudices, and deeply held beliefs about axes of identity through digital pedagogy.

Teaching Embodiment through Technology

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27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Leah Zani and Marzieh Kaivanara’s modular assignment sequence asks students to think critically about the technologized body. Their goal for this sequence is to encourage students to understand their own bodies in relation to technology and power. They begin the assignment with theoretical discussions of race, gender, and other facets of identity. Students participate in activities intended to connect them with their own bodies and supplement their understanding of embodiment. Then, they introduce students to scholarship on technological embodiment. Finally, the class collectively analyzes images of technologized bodies sourced by students. Zani and Kaivanara then ask their students to consider their own use of bodily technologies, from glasses to cavities to wearable activity monitors. In doing so, they offer a model for teaching students to reflect on the relationship between gender, ability, and technology.

“Video Games as Feminist Pedagogy”

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30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 Samantha Allen makes the case that videogames are essential to teaching feminist pedagogy. She describes using videogames to teach units on transgender studies and intersectionality. These games, Allen argues, bridge gaps between students who do not share an understanding of feminism, leveraging their experiences with a shared understanding of videogames. She introduces her students to independent videogames, such as dys4ia, Lim, and Mainichi, made by people who are part of sexual and gender minorities to introduce students to perspectives other than their own. Additionally, Allen guided them through play of the mass-market game, Halo, interspersing game play with discussion groups to facilitate critical thinking about the game and to model intersectional dimensions of oppression. These assignments take advantage of students’ immersion in technological cultures to introduce theories of intersectionality and challenge them to consider their own experiences in relation to those who may not share them.

“Panama Silver, Asian Gold: Reimagining Diasporas, Archives, and the Humanities”

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33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 “Panama Silver, Asian Gold: Reimagining Diasporas, Archives, and the Humanities” is the latest iteration of a collaborative, cross-institutional course taught at Amherst College, University of Florida, University of Miami, and the University of the West Indies, Cavehill, Barbados. The first iteration was taught in 2013 at Amherst, University of Florida, and University of Miami. Students in the course undertake with archival research, digital scholarship, and literary studies of the Caribbean through an interdisciplinary lens. Through class assignments, they consider the colonial dimensions of archives, examining how particular facets of identity and subalternity influence Caribbean writers and scholars. The course demonstrates that intersectionality produces a range of interventions in the archive that students can make when using the Digital Library of the Caribbean. For example, Yilin Andre Wang’s “Mapping LGBT Caribbean Literature.” explores the queer Caribbean and its intersections of race, sexuality, gender, class, and nation through maps and timelines that illustrate the rise of LGBT representations in literature. This student project illuminates this important body of work that is often unrecognized in archives.

“Fashioning Circuits”

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36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 Kim Knight’s course materials for “Fashioning Circuits” bring together the history of fashion and wearable electronics to explore the effects of media on bodies at the intersections of race, gender, class, ability, and sexuality. After small-scale projects to introduce students to creating wearables as well as class discussions about intersectionality and media culture, students produce social justice-oriented wearable projects intended to provide a solution to a problem, make a statement, or create a social intervention. This hands-on experience in critical making is accompanied by discussion of the affordances and limitations of fashion and its relationship with wearable electronics. While other course materials that blend new media with intersectionality tend to emphasize analysis and multimodal writing to assess student outcomes, “Fashioning Circuits” asks students to perform the critiques they are making by creating digital objects of a different kind – LED safety jackets for dogs, a carbon monoxide sensing hat, or an anti-anxiety bracelet – to demonstrate their understanding of intersectionality and technology.

RELATED MATERIALS

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 Benmayor, Rina. “Digital Storytelling as a Signature Pedagogy for the New Humanities.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 7.2 (2008): 188-204. http://ahh.sagepub.com/content/7/2/188.short.

38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 Davis, Dawn Rae. “Unmirroring Pedagogies: Teaching with Intersectional and Transnational Methods in the Women and Gender Studies Classroom.” Feminist Formations 22.1 (2010): 136-62. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/381453.

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 Risam, Roopika and micha cárdenas. “De/Post/Colonial Digital Humanities.” HILT 2015. http://www.dhtraining.org/hilt2015/course/depostcolonial-digital-humanities/.

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 Stern, Danielle. “You Had Me at Foucault: Living Pedagogically in the Digital Age.” Text and Performance Quarterly 31.3 (2011): 249-66. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10462937.2011.573191.

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 VanGilder, Kirk. “Intersectionality and Disclosure as Pedagogical Tools. Religious Studies News. 29 Apr. 2015. http://rsn.aarweb.org/spotlight-on/theo-ed/intersectionality/intersectionality-and-disclosure-pedagogical-tools.

WORKS CITED

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 Allen, Samantha. “Video Games as Feminist Pedagogy.” The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association 8.13 (2014): 61-80. http://journals.sfu.ca/loading/index.php/loading/article/viewFile/135/166.

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 Arvidsson, Viktor and Anna Foka. “Digital Gender: Perspective, Phenomena, Practice.” First Monday 20.4 (2015). http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/5930/4430.

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 Bailey, Moya. “All the Digital Humanists Are White, All the Nerds Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave.” Journal of Digital Humanities 1.1 (2011). http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/1-1/all-the-digital-humanists-are-white-all-the-nerds-are-men-but-some-of-us-are-brave-by-moya-z-bailey/.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 Barnett, Fiona, Zach Blas, micha cárdenas, Jacob Gaboury, Jessica Marie Johnson, and Margaret Rhee. “QueerOS: A User’s Manual.” Debates in Digital Humanities, 2016. Eds. Lauren Klein and Matthew K. Gold. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press. (forthcoming).

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 Benmayor, Rina. “Digital Storytelling as a Signature Pedagogy for the New Humanities.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 7.2 (2008): 188-204. http://ahh.sagepub.com/content/7/2/188.short

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 Benmayor, Rita. “Latina Life Stories.” 5 Apr. 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLbh2gw8EsA.

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 Brandt, Jenn. “Women Writing Worldwide Global Focus Mapping Project.” 2014. http://www.highpoint.edu/digiped/files/2014/02/20140331_JennBrandt_0001.pdf.

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 Carbin, Maria and Sara Edenheim. “The Intersectional Turn in Feminist Theory: A Dream of a Common Language.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 20.3 (2013):233-48. http://ejw.sagepub.com/content/20/3/233.abstract.

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 Crenshaw, Kimberlé. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review 43.6 (1991): 1241-99. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1229039.

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 Davis, Dawn Rae. “Unmirroring Pedagogies: Teaching with Intersectional and Transnational Methods in the Women and Gender Studies Classroom.” Feminist Formations 22.1 (2010): 136-62. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/381453.

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 Davis, Kathy. “Intersectionality as Buzzword: A Sociology of Science Perspective on What Makes a Feminist Theory Successful.” Feminist Theory 9.1 (2008): 67-85. http://fty.sagepub.com/content/9/1/67.short.

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 Earhart, Amy and Toniesha Taylor. “Pedagogies of Race: Digital Humanities in the Age of Ferguson.” Debates in Digital Humanities, 2016. Eds. Lauren Klein and Matthew K. Gold. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. 251-64.

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 Gil, Alex. “The (Digital) Library of Babel.” @elotroalex. 7 Jun. 2014. http://elotroalex.webfactional.com/digital-library-babel/.

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 Keeling, Kara. “Queer OS.” Cinema Journal 53.2 (2014): 152-7. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/535715/pdf.

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 Knight, Kim. Fashioning Circuits. 2014. http://fashioningcircuits.com/?page_id=2365.

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 McPherson, Tara. “Why Are the Digital Humanities So White?: Thinking the Histories of Race and Computation.” Debates in Digital Humanities. Ed. Matthew K. Gold. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/29.

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 Murillo, Bianca. “Teaching with Tumblr: Building a Digital Archive of Gender, Race & Empire.” Notches. 29 Sept. 2015. http://notchesblog.com/2015/09/29/teaching-with-tumblr-building-a-digital-archive-of-gender-race-empire/.

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 Ortega, Élika. “RedHD: Open, Collective, and Multilingual Work Dynamics.” Canadian Society of Digital Humanities and Association for Computers and the Humanities Joint Conference. University of Ottawa. Ottawa, Canada. 3 Jun. 2015.

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 Ostergaard, Lori. “Teaching Artifact – Assignment: Digital Ethnography.” Journal of Global Literacies, Technologies, and Emerging Pedagogies 3.1 (2015): 422-25. http://joglep.com/files/5914/3934/2744/5._Teaching_Artifact-Ostergaard-Digital_Ethnography.pdf.

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 Purkayastha, Bandana. “Intersectionality in a Transnational World.” Gender and Society 26.1 (2012): 55-66. http://gas.sagepub.com/content/26/1/55.extract.

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 Risam, Roopika and micha cárdenas. “De/Post/Colonial Digital Humanities.” HILT 2015. http://www.dhtraining.org/hilt2015/course/depostcolonial-digital-humanities/.

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 Risam, Roopika. “Beyond the Margins: Intersectionality and Digital Humanities.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 9.2 (2015). http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/9/2/000208/000208.html.

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 Rosenberg, Leah, Donette Francis, and Rhonda Cobham-Sander. Panama Silver, Asian Gold: Reimagining Diasporas, Archives, and the Humanities. http://dloc.com/digital/panamasilver.

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 Ross, Nancy. “Teaching Twentieth Century Art History with Gender and Data Visualizations.” Journal of Interactive Teaching and Pedagogy 4 (2013). http://jitp.commons.gc.cuny.edu/teaching-twentieth-century-art-history-with-gender-and-data-visualizations/.

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 Stern, Danielle. “You Had Me at Foucault: Living Pedagogically in the Digital Age.” Text and Performance Quarterly 31.3 (2011): 249-66. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10462937.2011.573191.

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 VanGilder, Kirk. “Intersectionality and Disclosure as Pedagogical Tools. Religious Studies News. 29 Apr. 2015. http://rsn.aarweb.org/spotlight-on/theo-ed/intersectionality/intersectionality-and-disclosure-pedagogical-tools.

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 Webber-Bey, Deimosa. “Runaway Quilt Project: Digital Humanities Exploration of Quilting During the Era of Slavery.” The Journal of Interactive Teaching and Pedagogy 6 (2014). http://jitp.commons.gc.cuny.edu/runaway-quilt-project-digital-humanities-exploration-of-quilting-during-the-era-of-slavery/.

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 Wernimont, Jacqueline and Liz Losh. “Problems with White Feminism: Intersectionality and Digital Humanities.” Doing Digital Humanities. Eds. Constance Crompton, Richard Lane, and Ray Siemens. NY: Routledge, 2016. (forthcoming).

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 Zani, Leah and Marzieh Kaivanara. “Teaching Embodiment through Technology.” Cultural Anthropology. 17 May 2015. http://www.culanth.org/fieldsights/682-teaching-embodiment-through-technology.

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Source: https://hcommons.org/keywords/intersectionality/