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Emerging Intersections

Emerging Intersections: Race, Class, and Gender in Theory, Policy, and Practice

Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 328
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  • Book Info
    Emerging Intersections
    Book Description:

    The United States is known as a "melting pot" yet this mix tends to be volatile and contributes to a long history of oppression, racism, and bigotry.

    Emerging Intersections, an anthology of ten previously unpublished essays, looks at the problems of inequality and oppression from new angles and promotes intersectionality as an interpretive tool that can be utilized to better understand the ways in which race, class, gender, ethnicity, and other dimensions of difference shape our lives today. The book showcases innovative contributions that expand our understanding of how inequality affects people of color, demonstrates the ways public policies reinforce existing systems of inequality, and shows how research and teaching using an intersectional perspective compels scholars to become agents of change within institutions. By offering practical applications for using intersectional knowledge, Emerging Intersections will help bring us one step closer to achieving positive institutional change and social justice.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4651-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. ii-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. FOREWORD: Emerging Intersections—Building Knowledge and Transforming Institutions
    (pp. vii-xiii)

    As thinkers and practitioners, Bonnie Thornton Dill and Ruth E. Zambrana have been actively engaged in nurturing intersectionality since its inception. For Dill and Zambrana, intersectionality constitutes “an innovative and emerging field of study that provides a critical analytic lens to interrogate racial, ethnic, class, ability, age, sexuality, and gender disparities and to contest existing ways of looking at these structures of inequality, transforming knowledges as well as the social institutions in which they have found themselves.” This expansive definition, one that links knowledge and power, research and policy, the individual and the collective, captures the spirit of intersectionality as...

    (pp. xv-xviii)
    Bonnie Thornton Dill and Ruth Enid Zambrana
  5. 1 Critical Thinking about Inequality: An Emerging Lens
    (pp. 1-21)

    Inequality and oppression are deeply woven into the tapestry of American life. As a result large disparities exist on measures of income, wealth, education, housing, occupation, and social benefits. These disparities are neither new nor randomly distributed throughout the population, but occur in patterns along such major social divisions as race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality, and physical ability. Social scientists have traditionally analyzed inequalities by isolating these factors and treating them as if they are independent of one another. Even when their interactions are discussed they are still conceptualized as if they are largely independent forces that happen to overlap...

  6. 2 Entering a Profession: Race, Gender, and Class in the Lives of Black Women Attorneys
    (pp. 22-49)

    In the era of Jim Crow, racial barriers limited the production of Black professionals, the spheres where they could operate, and their abilities to influence their fields. Have these trends changed in the post–civil rights era? This chapter looks at the historical record and interviews with Black women attorneys to examine their progress in the profession. I focus on the experience of Black women within the wider context of recent changes in the legal profession in the United States, particularly the expansion of large firms (thirty people or more) and declining percentages in solo practices (Heinz, et al., 2005)....

  7. 3 The Intersection of Poverty Discourses: Race, Class, Culture, and Gender
    (pp. 50-72)

    Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath present a timely window on the contradictory inner dynamics of race, class, gender, and poverty in America. The exposure of extreme poverty, closely associated with an urban Black underclass, stranded by natural disaster and political neglect, was both a reminder of the existence of deprivation that the public is reluctant to acknowledge and a reinforcement of popular prejudices and stereotypes about poverty that the same public is all too ready to espouse. In the United States, poverty is commonly given a Black and disreputable face and then alternately ignored and demonized, part of a legacy...

  8. 4 Staggered Inequalities in Access to Higher Education by Gender, Race, and Ethnicity
    (pp. 73-100)

    In institutions of higher learning, the retention and persistence of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups has come to the forefront as the economic and social value of a baccalaureate degree increases (Orfield, Marin, & Horn, 2005; Tinto, 1987, 1988).¹ After making rapid gains in the late 1960s and early 1980s, the enrollment of historically underrepresented groups, namely African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Puerto Ricans, began to stall in the late 1990s, increasing again only in the late 1990s (Price & Wohlford, 2005). Latina/o youth actually increased enrollment in higher education during the 1990s but persistence to degree remained elusive (Suro...

  9. 5 Developing Policy to Address the Lived Experiences of Working Mothers
    (pp. 101-122)

    Employment in the U.S. labor market does not always translate into economic self-sufficiency especially for marginalized groups.¹ This chapter explores the importance of an intersectional approach to workforce development by addressing three broad research questions:

    1. What are the challenges single mothers confront in attaining education and training via public sector initiatives? Specifically how do race, class, and marital status intersect with gender to limit the access of women to public sector education and training?

    2. How has the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) conceptualized single working poor mothers and addressed their employment and training needs?

    3. Using a case study...

  10. 6 Exploring the Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, and Class on Maternity Leave Decisions: Implications for Public Policy
    (pp. 123-149)

    Policymakers in the United States have struggled for decades to devise policies that encourage the labor force attachment of low-income mothers, particularly those receiving public assistance. These efforts culminated in the 1996 passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), which imposed substantial work requirements on mothers receiving aid, time limits on the receipt of cash assistance, and other heightened program eligibility requirements (i.e., providing proof of children’s immunization, etc.). The PRWORA (also referred to as “welfare reform”) was buttressed by the enactment of other federal policies such as the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA),...

  11. 7 Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in the Workforce, Education, and Training under Welfare Reform
    (pp. 150-179)

    Why have people of color become a larger proportion of the welfare caseload since the implementation of TANF in 1996?¹ What kinds of opportunities enhance women’s successful transition from welfare to self-sufficiency? This chapter has three purposes:

    to shed some light on these and other questions by examining the relationship between racial, ethnic, and gender disparities and access to jobs and education for welfare recipients;

    to propose a set of explanations that reveal how historical patterns of racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination result in disparities that have restructured the relationship of the welfare population to the rest of the poor...

  12. 8 Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Early School Leaving (Dropping Out)
    (pp. 180-202)

    In contrast to traditional approaches to framing early school leaving, this chapter utilizes an intersectional approach.¹ An intersectional approach will not illuminate race or ethnicity or class or gender or geographical/spatial location as a social location that singularly correlates with high school dropout. Instead, given the discriminatory practices that disproportionately affect ethnic minorities in the United States, an intersectional approach reveals how these categories converge and thereby place students, for example American Indians, Latinos/as, and Blacks, in particularly disadvantageous situations. Class-based measures of dropout rates do, indeed, reveal that regardless of race or ethnicity, students from low-income backgrounds are more...

  13. 9 Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Political Participation and Civic Engagement
    (pp. 203-228)

    In the closing decade of the twentieth century, a veritable cottage industry of research bemoaning the decline of civic engagement and political participation in the United States sprang up (Putnam, 2000; Skocpol & Fiorina, 1999). The focus of most studies was on social trust, social capital, and other individual-level factors. The political system was treated as open and even encouraging everyone to participate. Racial and economic inequalities and their structural origins were virtually ignored as factors linked to participation, and thus the search was to find out what was happening in the lives of individuals or in their personal ties...

  14. 10 Intersections, Identities, and Inequalities in Higher Education
    (pp. 229-252)

    Intersectionality is the intellectual core of diversity work. As Frank Hale points out in the introduction to his book,What Makes Racial Diversity Work in Higher Education: “Institutions of higher education are a part of a global culture that maintains the racial divide and highlights the constant clashes between the ideals America espouses and what Americans practice in fact” (2004, 3). Scholars doing intersectional analysis—many of whom are scholars of color—are widely dispersed across their colleges and universities in the arts, humanities, social sciences, health sciences, and in schools of international affairs, law, and business. Many embody the...

  15. 11 Transforming the Campus Climate through Institutions, Collaboration, and Mentoring
    (pp. 253-273)

    In 2004, a National Academy of Sciences report acknowledged the growing recognition and appreciation of interdisciplinary scholarship that facilitates intellectual collaboration (The National Academies, 2004).¹ Institutional climates are often changed through faculty leadership and collaborative partnerships. This case study of the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity (CRGE) at the University of Maryland (UM) illustrates the ways faculty engagement in institution building, intellectual collaboration, and mentoring has contributed to transformation in one institution of higher education. The consortium focused its approach to fostering change on faculty-led collaborative intersectional and interdisciplinary scholarship. Nevertheless this process encountered a number of challenges because...

  16. 12 Conclusion: Future Directions in Knowledge Building and Sustaining Institutional Change
    (pp. 274-290)

    This collection of chapters illustrates the viability and analytical power of intersectional analysis for studying inequality in the U.S. context, for building knowledge, and for creating institutional change. Drawing on empirical research and studies of policies and practices that impact the lives of low-income women and women of color, it reveals the interplay of power, identity, and social location as it affects options and opportunities in employment, access to and use of government and employer benefits, political and civic participation, K–12 schooling, and in the scope and structure of higher education. This concluding chapter summarizes the theoretical conclusions of...

    (pp. 291-295)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 297-306)