Intersectionality and Epistemic Injustice

Authored by: Patricia Hill Collins

The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138828254
eBook ISBN: 9781315212043
Adobe ISBN: 9781351814508


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Intersectionality constitutes a provocative site for examining how ideas are taken up by different sets of social actors, but also how resistant knowledges change as they navigate heterogeneous social contexts. As a knowledge project, intersectionality repeatedly crosses an important political, social and epistemological border: its social actors are distributed within both social movement settings and academic venues. This border-crossing is not unidirectional – either from social movements into the academy or vice versa – and placement within these overlapping and often contentious fields of power means that intersectionality is always under construction. Neither inherently beneficial nor harmful, travelling across academic borders generates new opportunities and constraints (Carbado 2013). Yet increasingly, academics and activists have expressed reservations about the ways in which intersectionality has changed, specifically, the deterioration of the emancipatory possibilities of Black feminism and intersectionality within the academy (Alexander-Floyd 2012), and the academic misrecognition and misappropriation of intersectionality (Mohanty 2013).

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