• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Browse and search Google Drive and Gmail attachments (plus Dropbox and Slack files) with a unified tool for working with your cloud files. Try Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) for free. Now available on the web, Mac, Windows, and as a Chrome extension!



Page history last edited by Elizabeth Kissling 5 years, 1 month ago Saved with comment




Maria Miller Stewart, spoke about abolition to a mixed race and mixed gender audience in Boston in 1832,

making her the first American woman to do so.  She is named in Ange-Marie Hancock's intellectual history of

intersectionality as the earliest example of feminist intersectionality-like thinking. Stewart's collected

speeches and essays were published in 1987 under the banner "America's First Black Woman Political Writer."


Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and women's rights activist who was born into slavery in rural New York in 1797.

She escaped in 1826, with her infant daughter, and began preaching after a religious epiphany. She soon got involved

with the burgeoning abolition movement and the women's suffrage campaign, but broke with Susan B. Anthony and

Elizabeth Cady Stanton when Stanton said she would not support the black right to vote if women were not included. 


Alfre Woodard reads Sojourner Truth's famous speech, "Ain't I a Woman?", as delivered at the Akron, Ohio,

Women's Convention in 1851. 


Anna Julia Cooper, an early practitioner of intersectionality-like thought, was born into slavery and

died just a few months before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, at age 105. Read

her biography at the web site of the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University. She recognized

that "All prejudices, whether of race, sect or sex, class pride and caste distinctions are the belittling inheritance

and badge of snobs and prigs."

  Ida B. Wells was a daughter of slaves who became a journalist and anti-lynching activist at turn of 20th century. She worked for equal opportunity for women in government hiring as well as for equality for African-American citizens. She once said, "I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap."
1940s  Mary Church Terrell was one of the first U.S. Black women to earn a college degree (at Oberlin), and was an activist for women's suffrage and for charter member of the NAACP. But first, she was a founding member and first president of National Association of Colored Women in 1896. Read more of her biography here. The original typescript of her autobiography, A Colored Woman in the White World, published in 1940, is an exhibit at the Library of Congress. 

Pauli Murray, attorney and civil rights activist, was the author of States' Laws on Race and Color, published in 1951 and

for many years the definitive compilation of state laws and local ordinances that mandated racial segregation and of

pre-Brown-era civil rights legislation. Murray coined the term Jane Crow while a student at Howard University, in an

early example of intersectional thinking that recognized Black women experience racism in ways both different and

similar to how it was experienced by Black men. 


“One person plus one typewriter constitutes a movement.” Pauli Murray in an announcement to her mentor, Carolyn Ware

(Pauli Murray: The Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest, and Poet. Knoxville, TN: University of

Tennessee Press, 1989, p. 242)

1970  Frances Beal's* "Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female" began as a 1969 pamphlet that analyzed the way racism, sexism, and capitalism are intertwined in the lives of Black women. It was published in Toni Cade's 1970 collection, The Black Woman. 
*Sometimes spelled Beale 

The Combahee River Collective was a small organizing initiative of a group of Black feminists in Boston. The group met

from 1974-1980. In 1982, they published A Black Feminist Document, which has come to be known as the Combahee

River Collective Statement. It is a exemplary model of intersectional thinking, prefaced with the following statement:


"The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively

committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and see as

our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that

the major systems of oppression are interlocking. The synthesis of these oppressions creates

the conditions of our lives."


Audre Lorde named herself "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet" because she knew identities are multiple. Her

poetry and other writing challenged the categorization and marginalization of identity into narrow slices. She is well

known for her poetry and essays, and especially for The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House [pdf]. 

1980s bell hooks — a 19-year-old college student at the time — publishes her first book, Ain't I a Woman?, named for Sojourner Truth's speech, in 1981
  Political activist Angela Davis publishes Women, Race, & Class

This Bridge Called My Back (Cherríe Moraga & Gloria Anzaldua)  is a book based on poetry and writings from radical women of color. This piece was originally published in 1983 and since then has released a fourth edition in February of 2015. The importance of intersectionality within race, class, sexual orientation and a political stance, are some examples of the ways in which theses women address oppression and liberation during the third wave of feminism. 


Deborah King publishes Triple Jeopardy, a precursor to intersectionality.

Mari Matsuda, law professor at Stanford, has pointed out that intersectional thinking has many origins, including

the multiracial labor organizing of the IWW more than 100 years ago. Her 'ask the other question' methodology is

frequently cited:


“The way I try to understand the interconnection of all forms of subordination is through a 
 method I call ‘ask the other question.’  When I see something that looks racist, I ask 
 ‘Where is the patriarchy in this?’  When I see something that looks sexist, I ask ‘Where is 
 the heterosexism in this?’ . . . no form of subordination ever stands alone.”  (“Beside My 
 Sister, Facing the Enemy: Legal Theory Out of Coalition,” 43 Stanford Law Review 1183, 1189 (1991))
1987 Gloria Anzalduá publishes BorderLands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Kimberlé Crenshaw publishes several papers using the metaphor of intersectionality to describe the way oppressions of race and gender are mutually constitutive in Black women's lives and absent from law and jurisprudence.

1990 Patricia Hill Collins publishes Black Feminist Thought
1990s  After Crenshaw's and Collins' work in early 1990s, intersectionality spread first in legal theory, in the area of Critical Race Theory (see, for example, Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement, edited by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Gary Peller, and Kendall Thomas). Intersectionality gained very little traction in Women's & Gender Studies; in fact, the term was not featured in Signs, Feminist Review, or Gender & Society until 2002 and 2004.

Intersectionality virtually exploded in Women's and Gender Studies in the 2000s.


Selected bibliography:


Bowleg, L. (2012). The problem with the phrase women and minorities: intersectionality-an important theoretical framework for public health. American Journal of Public Health, 102(7), 1267–1273.


Carastathis, A. (2013). Identity categories as potential coalitions. Signs, 38(4), 941–965.


Carastathis, A. (2014). The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory. Philosophy Compass, 9(5), 304–314.


Cho, S., Crenshaw, K. W., & McCall, L. (2013). Toward a field of intersectionality studies: Theory, applications, and praxis. Signs, 38(4), 785–810.


Cohen, C. J. (1997). Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics? GLQ: a Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 3(4), 437–465.


Collins, P. H. (2015). Intersectionality's Definitional Dilemmas. Annual Review of Sociology, 41(1), 1–20.


Davis, K. (2008). Intersectionality as buzzword: A sociology of science perspective on what makes a feminist theory successful. Feminist Theory, 9(1), 67.


Hahn Tapper, A. J. (2013). A Pedagogy of Social Justice Education: Social Identity Theory, Intersectionality, and Empowerment. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 30(4), 411–445. 


Hancock, A.-M. (2007). When Multiplication Doesn't Equal Quick Addition: Examining Intersectionality as a Research Paradigm. Perspectives on Politics, 5(01), 1–17. 


Hancock, A.-M. (2014). Bridging the Feminist Generation Gap: Intersectional Considerations. Politics & Gender, 10(02), 292–296. 


MacKinnon, C. A. (2013). Intersectionality as method: A note. Signs, 38(4), 1019–1030. 


Mann, S. (n.d.). Third Wave Feminism’s Unhappy Marriage of Poststructuralism and Intersectionality Theory. Journal of Feminist Scholarship, 54.


Mohanty, C. T. (2013). Transnational feminist crossings: On neoliberalism and radical critique. Signs, 38(4), 967–991. 


Nash, J. C. (2008). Re-thinking Intersectionality. Feminist Review, 89, 1–15.


Perdomo, S. A. (2014). Raw Tongue. In D. Mitchell, C. Y. Simmons, & L. A. Greyerbiehl (Eds.), Intersectionality and Higher Education (pp. 123–134). Peter Lang.


Reinert, L. J., & Serna, G. R. (2014). Living Intersectionality in the Academy. In D. Mitchell, C. Y. Simmons, & L. A. Greyerbiehl (Eds.), Intersectionality and Higher Education (pp. 88–98). New York.


Taylor, B. J., Miller, R. A., & García-Louis, C. (2014). Utilizing Intersectionality to Engage Dialogue in Higher Education. In D. Mitchell, C. Y. Simmons, & L. A. Greyerbiehl (Eds.), Intersectionality and Higher Education (pp. 229–239). New York: Peter Lang.





Sources: Hancock, A. M. (2016). Intersectionality: An Intellectual History. Oxford University Press.

Nash, J. (2016). 

Nash, J. C. (2015, February 15). The Institutional Life of Intersectionality, or Notes on Feminist Fatigue. Lecture presented at Ohio State University Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies in OH, Columbus.



Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.