Intersectionality: critical perspectives on Inequality and Power GEN560
The objective of this course is to pursue critical understandings of social inequity and structures of oppression through variables such as race, gender, class, sexuality, age, ability, and citizenship status. The theory of intersectionality emerges from the scholarship and activism of Black feminist thinkers who introduced it as an analytical tool to define, understand, and challenge the multiple forms of oppression that simultaneously impede the value and freedoms of Black women’s everyday lives. At once indebted to and in dialogue with this early Black feminist theory, this course explores the complexities of marginalized identities and unequal access to power and privilege through a series of themes that reveal the overlapping and thus intersecting logics of social domination and exploitation. By shifting from foundational texts that employ an intersectional framework to more contemporary works in critical race theory and postcolonial theory this course emphasizes the correlation between past and present struggles for social change.
Course description for study year 2021-2022. Please note that changes may occur.
Semester tution start
Number of semesters
Language of instruction
Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Media and Social Sciences
Students should acquire knowledge about intersectionality as a theoretical and analytical framework.
Students should acquire knowledge of how multiple axes of social division such as gender, race, sexuality, age, class, intersect and how these may be articulated and discussed in complex ways.
Students should acquire knowledge of contemporary debates around intersectionality and how the concept is used to present social critique and to promote social change.
Students should be able to analyze and critically discuss intersectionality as a theoretical framework.
Students should be able to analyze inequality as the effect of multiple axes of social division through an intersectional lens.
Students should be able to comprehensively discuss the politics of domination, power, and social inequity, in addition to being able to assess the ways an intersectional framework can be employed in endeavours for social change.
After completing the course, students are expected to be familiar with core texts in intersectionality.
After completing the course, students are expected to have acquired theoretical knowledge about social inequity and systemic oppression and be able to use intersectionality as an analytical perspective for evaluating inequity.
After completing the course, students are expected to be able to apply intersectional perspectives to the ways they reflect upon the organization of power and privilege as it relates to social, political, and cultural events as well as their everyday lives.
During the course we will acquire knowledge of how intersectionality emerges from Black feminist theory and critical race studies. During the course we will investigate how intersectional thinking from the onset sought to interrupt universal understandings of womanhood and to problematize the dominance of whiteness within feminist activism and scholarship. The concept of intersectionality will help us to intelligently engage with and assess an array of social and political themes, such as racism, sexism, legacies of colonialism, slavery, Indigenous displacement and resistance, transphobia, homophobia, reproductive justice, economic exploitation, identity, and national belonging. Readings will draw our attention to a number of national contexts, including the Nordic region. In this way, intersectionality will guide our understandings of how systemic inequities are methodically maintained and actively disputed across a variety of social and political demographics. The course is relevant for students who are interested in both gaining a strong grasp of how structures of oppression operate and investigating mechanisms for social change by using the theoretical and analytical lens made available through intersectionality.
Required prerequisite knowledge
Form of assessment
A - F
Digital home-exam: an individual written essay (3000 words) to be handed in electronically. The essay will be divided into several subsections (i.e. definitions, short answer, long answer). The language for the exam is English. The exam will be graded A-F.
One activity, one written essay and one group presentation
The course requires active participation, and students will have to submit two written assignments during the semester and participate in one activity. Students will have to pass this 3-part compulsory assignment in order to qualify for the final exam. The language for the coursework is English.
Method of work
The course consists of weekly sessions. These sessions will include lectures, seminars, group work and individual work adapted to different modes of study. All students are expected to read the syllabus and participate in group discussions and thereby develop analytic reflections in a productive environment with fellow students. This will be done on and off campus and the course coordinator will facilitate a digital learning platform (Canvas). The working language for this course is English.
The literature for this course consist of a collection of articles and books made available in Leganto. Information about the article collection can be found on Canvas before the start of the course. Any changes to the curriculum will be announced on Canvas before the start of the course
This course can be taken as a part of the Minor in Gender Studies (30ECTS)
Student evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the UiS system for Quality in Education.
Intersectionality: Critical perspectives on Inequality and Power (GEN360)