Intersectionality is a term coined by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 to explain the different experiences, particularly of discrimination faced by Black women. Black women are not treated either like Black men or like white women and thus laws designed to address discrimination against those two groups have left out Black women. Crenshaw built on decades of understanding of the interconnectedness of identity from the work of Black feminist thinkers. For example, when speaking at Harvard University in February 1982, Audre Lorde said, “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives” (see the ebook Sister Outsider. “Learning from the 60s.” page 131).
Importantly, the seminal work of 1970s queer Black feminists in the Combahee River Collective Statement defines their work as “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.” Thus, it is critical to understand that intersectionality and its precursors are not about oppression being additive but about the distinct ways experiences of oppression and domination are both unique among individuals and shared by groups based on their marginalized and privileged identities. The resources below explore these particularities and what we can do to make our society inclusive and equitable.
Introduction to Intersectionality by Assemble You Limited (9 minute audio explainer)
This LibGuide was co-created by Amy Harth, PhD, Assistant National Dean of Accreditation and Academic Quality, and by Joe Louderback, MLS, Reference and Instruction Librarian, as part of an ongoing series to reflect DeVry University’s commitment to, and celebration of, diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.