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Intersectionality – Potentials and Challenges.

August 29-31, 2005

Deadline for application:
June 15, 2005

The Danish University of Education, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Prof. Dorte Marie Søndergaard (Denmark)
Assoc. Prof. Dorthe Staunæs (Denmark)
Dr. Ingunn Moser (Norway)

Prof. Dorte Marie Søndergaard - in collaboration with Research School leader Prof. Nina Lykke.

Course description:
The aim of the course is to introduce and discuss the concept of intersectionality and its analytic implications in empirical studies. Intersectionality has grown out of post-modern feminist theory, postcolonial studies, Black Feminism and queer studies. In its initial versions, the concept celebrated identity politics, emphasising the double, triple or even multiple enactment of power asymmetries based on people’s simultaneous positioning within a range of socio-cultural categories: gender, racialised ethnicity, sexuality etc. Later on, intersectionality began to be embraced as part of queer ambitions to trouble identity demarcations and intensify analysis of complexity, hybridity, diversity, process, and transformation. These are all conceptualisations devised to help understand the fluidity and/or stability of identity, subjectification and subject positioning. Following this line of development, intersectionality has crossed the international agenda of research in areas such as cultural studies, educational research, gender studies, migration studies, and the disciplines of, for instance, psychology, sociology, and anthropology.

The course will take up some of the discussions surrounding the concept that either aim to replace the conceptualisation by new metaphors, or to develop intersectionality thinking into still more complexity-sensitive directions – raising questions like: How sensitive is intersectionality thinking after all to the diverse and changing ways socio-cultural categories interact among, in, and through each other according to the time, space and individual/relational context? Is the concept of intersectionality well enough developed to open up the complex ways in which these interactions sometimes, in relation to some aspects, support each other, and sometimes, in relation to other aspects, contradict, oppose and undermine each other? What are the alternative metaphors, concepts and resources available for thinking about the processes and mechanisms of the co-existence or simultaneous presence of multiple social differentiations? Can intersectionality studies borrow and learn from interactionist, ethnomethodological, praxiological and material semiotic approaches, with their conceptions of gender and other differences as ‘doings’; as continual, emergent, recurring, situational and situated enactment – or even achievement? Might the conceptual sensitivity concerning processes of subjectification be further improved, or would such a move cause the conceptualisation to dissolve? Would the socio-political insights, which determine the capacity to analyse power relations, be undermined? What kind of potential approach does intersectionality and alternative metaphors such as interference, hybridity etc. open concerning ‘matter’, in terms of ‘bodies’, ‘nature’, ‘technologies’, and ‘materiality’? Should these phenomena be considered intersecting categories alongside socio-cultural categories, or would that kind of conceptualising undermine the whole research tradition? In other words: the question of what ‘a category’ really is will be asked, drawing on science and technology studies and actor network theory.
The course will open some of these discussions to the students and invite reflections on potential ways to apply intersectionality thinking in relation to the student’s own research projects and data material.


29 August 2005
09.30–10.00 Welcome
10.00-10.30 Students and teachers introduce themselves
10.30-12.00 Dorte Marie Søndergaard: Opening the concept of intersectionality – from additive pie charts to hyper-infiltration and multi-level complexity
12.00–13.00 Lunch
13.00–14.00 Dorthe Staunæs: Retooling the concept and methodologies of intersectionality by considering complex subjectivities and lived life
14.00–14.30 Coffee
14.30-16.00 Plenum discussion

30 August 2005
09.00–10.00 Ingunn Moser: Questioning and qualifying intersectionality: Investigating patterns of interference in situated practices
10.00–12.00 Group supervision, drawing on today’s and yesterday’s discussions
12.00–13.00 Lunch
13.00–14.30 Students write and reflect upon the two days’ insights and discussions in relation to their own projects (individual time with a laptop)
14.30–15.30 Ingunn Moser: Talking intersecting processes of formation across socio-cultural, bodily and material categories in organisations
15.30–16.30 Coffee and plenum discussion

31 August 2005
09.00–10.00 Dorte Marie Søndergaard: Power, gender, age and managerial ideals: intersecting categories, entities, or merely processes of interaction? 2
10.00–12.00 Students discuss their written reflections from yesterday in pairs
12.00–13.00 Lunch
13.00–14.00 Dorthe Staunæs: Power, gender, age and managerial ideals: intersecting categories, entities, or merely processes of interaction? 1
14.00–16.00 (Coffee) Plenum discussion and evaluation

The course alternates between teacher lectures, group discussions, group supervision, plenum discussions, individual reflection and discussion in pairs. Much work will take place in groups of 6 persons, supplemented by one of the teachers. Individual reflection is planned to take place through writing, so please bring a laptop if possible. On the last day the reflections will be discussed in pairs.

Preparation demands:
The course literature must be read before the course (students who cannot read books in Danish should instead read the publications listed as alternatives). Each student is asked to send one page describing their project design with particular emphasis on the analytic questions raised in the research. On the first day of the course students will be asked to introduce their projects by pointing out the potential relevance of intersectionality thinking in relation to their research. Each student is also required to send in a sample of empirical data (interviews, field notes, video descriptions, pictures or whatever they will be working with) - three pages as absolute maximum. Project descriptions and data samples should be sent to the academic coordinator Mette Bryld: mbry@galnet.dk
Deadline: August 1

Brah, A. (1996): Cartographies of diaspora. Contested Identities. London and New York: Routledge.

Brah, A. & A. Phoenix (2004): "Ain’t I a Woman? Revisiting Intersectionality." Journal of International Women Studies, 5 (3).

Carbin, M. & S. Tornhill (2004): "Intersektionalitet - ett oanvändbart begrepp?". Kvinnovetenskaplig tidskrift. (24) 3, 111-114.

Collins, P.H. (1998). "It’s all in the family: Intersections of gender, race, and nation." Hypatia, 13 (3).

Collins, P. et al (1995). "Symposium on West and Fenstermaker." Gender and Society, 9 (4), 8-37.

Crenshaw, K.W. (1994). "Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color." In: M.A.Fineman, and R.Mykitiuk (eds.), The Public Nature of Private Violence. New York: Routledge.

De los Reyes, p. & D. Mulinari (2003): "Intersektionalitet som teoretisk ram vs. mångfaldsperspektivets romma retorik." Kvinnovetenskaplig tidskrift (23) 1.

Frankenberg, Ruth (1993): White Women - Race matters. The Social Construction of Whiteness. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press.

Hirschauer, S. (1994): "Die Soziale Fortpflanzung der Zweigeschlechtlichkeit." Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 46, 686-692.

Hirschauer, S. (2001): "Das Vergessen des Geschlechts. Zur Praxeologie einer Kategorie sozialer Ordnung." In: Heinz, B. (ed.) Geschlechtersoziologie. Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag.

Law, John (2004): After Method. Mess in social science research. London and New York: Routledge.

Law, J. and I.Moser (2003): Managing, Subjectivities and Desires. Published by the Centre for Science Studies, Lancaster University, at http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/sociology/papers/law-moser-managing-subjectivities-desires.pdf

Lykke, N. (2003): "Intersektionalitet – ett användbart begrepp för genusforskningen." Kvinnovetenskaplig tidskrift, 23 (1), 47-57.

May, V.M. & B.A. Ferri (2002):" ‘I’m a wheelchair girl now: Abjection,
intersectionality, and subjectivity in Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter." Women’s Quarterly, 30(1&2), 131-150.

McCall, L (2003): "Managing the Complexity of Intersectionality." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, www.rci.rutgers.edu/~lmccall/signs1f-ext.pdf

Moser, I. (2003): Road Traffic Accidents: The Ordering of Subjects, Bodies and Disability. Oslo: Unipub Forlag.

Moser, Ingunn (2004): "On becoming disabled and articulating alternatives: The multiple modes of ordering disability and their interferences", submitted to Cultural Studies, special issue on disability.

Moser, Ingunn (forthcoming): Sociotechnical practices and difference: On the interferences between disability, gender and class. Science, Technology and Human Values.

Staunæs, D. (2003): "Where have all the Subjects gone? Bringing together the concepts of subjectification and intersectionality." NORA – Nordic Journal of Women Studies, 11 (2), 101-110.

*Staunæs, D. (2004): Køn, etnicitet og skoleliv. København: Samfundslitteratur.

Staunæs, D. (2005): "From culturally avantgarde to sexually promiscuous – troubling subjectivities and intersections in the social transition from childhood into youth." Feminism & Psychology, 15 (2), 151-169.

*Søndergaard, D.M. (1996): Tegnet på Kroppen. Køn: Koder og Konstruktioner blandt Unge Voksne i Akademia. København: Museum Tusculanums Forlag.

Søndergaard, D.M. (2002): "Poststructuralist approaches to empirical analysis." Qualitative Studies in Education, 15 (2), 187-204.

Søndergaard, D.M. (2005a): "Making Sense of Gender, Age, Power and Disciplinary Position: Intersecting Discourses in the Academy." Feminism & Psychology, 15 (2), 191-210.

Søndergaard, D.M. (2005b): "Academic Desire Trajectories. Re-tooling the Concepts of Subjects, Desire and Biography." European Journal of Women’s Studies, 12 (forthcoming).

West, C. and D.H.Zimmerman (1987): “Doing Gender”. Gender and Society, 1 (2), 125-151.

West, C. and S. Fenstermaker (1995): “Doing Difference”. Gender and Society, 9 (1), 8-37.

* To be taken as supplementary literature for students who read Danish.

A reader will be sent out containing the listed articles – but not the books. However, Moser’s books (2003,2004) will be distributed as e-mail attachments. Keep your mailbox open!

25 applicants, 20 participants: Denmark 4 (self-paying), Finland 5, Finland/Switzerland 1, Norway 1, Sweden 5, Sweden/Russia 1, Germany 1, UK/Taiwan 1, Hungary/Rumania 1

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Last updated: Thu Jan 20 13:15:21 CET 2011