January 10, 2024
Happy 2024! It’s a new year and well, a new newsletter from the Intersectionality Training Institute®! Oh my, are we thrilled to launch Intersectionalia (/ˌintərˈsekSH(ə)nəlˈnālyə/). The backstory of our new newsletter’s name is way too pedantic for most. My team groaned when I excitedly shared the etymology; hint for you fellow pedants and language nerds: it has to do with the Latin phrase inter alia.
So welcome to the first issue of Intersectionalia. Come, let me show you around.
Intersectionalia consists of 6 sections:
- The first, Musings & Marginalia, is where I’ll greet you and share anything on the brain.
- In the Know About Intersectionality, is where we share key insights about the application of intersectionality to research, writing manuscripts, dissertations, grant proposals, and the like. You may already know some of the information or may be learning it for the first time; either way, you will be in the know. The goal is to provide information that will be immensely helpful to your work.
- The C3s: If you’ve attended any Intersectionality Training Institute program, you’ve likely heard me emphasize the need to cite “the three C’s: Combahee River Collective, Patricia Hill Collins, and Kimberlé Crenshaw” in your work. Intersectionalia‘s The C3 presents another alliterative set: Community, Collective, and Collaboration. The C3 is the place where we will document all the different intersectionality-related things happening in our community: your publications, grants, presentations, and other things of interest, and interviews with our community about your work.
- This, That & The Other is where we’ll highlight all manner of intersectionality-related things old and new. You’ll find books, snippets of quotes, poetry, job or fellowship openings, grant proposal opportunities, media articles, and maybe even a song lyric or two.
- Salon Takeaways. We’ve rolled Salon Takeaways, our monthly recap of the Intersectionality Research Salons into Intersectionalia.
- Finally, ITI Happenings will be the place to find out about new or upcoming trainings, publications, or anything ITI-related that we’d like you to know about.
But here’s the thing about Intersectionalia. Other than Musings & Marginalia and the Salon Takeaways, you’ll never know which combination of the sections you’re going to get. Could be all, could be just a handful. Intersectionalia will be like going to your favorite restaurant where you know you can always count on getting a delicious and nutritious meal. You just never know what’s going to be on the menu.
And as with Salon Takeaways, Intersectionalia will arrive before the next Intersectionality Research Salon (always the second Wednesday of the month). That could mean that it arrives a week before, a few days before, or at 4:59 pm the day of the Salon. As far as we’re concerned, it’s still before the next Salon.
We know that you are likely overwhelmed with stuff to read. We certainly are. Nonetheless, we hope that Intersectionalia will be a newsletter that you look forward to reading because it will be interesting, a little quirky, and chock full of valuable insights, resources, and references about intersectionality that you likely can’t find assembled anywhere else. We hope you love it.
Lisa Bowleg, PhD, MA
Founder & President
Intersectionality Training Institute
The Top 10 Most Common Mistakes People Make About Intersectionality
- Say their study, article, or proposal is informed by intersectionality, but fail to define or describe what intersectionality is.
- Read contemporary work on intersectionality only, and neglect the foundational literature and wealth of literature on the concept that preceded Kimberlé Crenshaw’s coinage of the term.
- Fail to cite the C3s (i.e., Combahee, Collins, and Crenshaw), a move that also obscures the intellectual contributions of Black women.
- Don’t describe how they are applying intersectionality to the work: as a theoretical/analytical framework for non-empirical work (e.g., op-ed, commentary), as a methodological framework for descriptive or analytic research, or as a tool for critical praxis.
- Emphasize intersectional “identities” exclusively with no attention to the interlocking power relations (e.g., racism, sexism, cisgenderism, ableism,and heterosexism) that construct and shape those intersectional positions.
- Ignore issues of power entirely.
- Ignore capitalism and class exploitation as key systems in the intersectional matrix of domination.
- Engage superficially (if at all) with the VAST theoretical and/or empirical literature on intersectionality, and in so doing, never answer the key question: What makes this work intersectional?
- Fail to describe (or cite) any intersectionality designs or models that inform the research.
- Claim that because the sample is diverse in some form or fashion (e.g., includes racial/ethnic minority people) that the study, is de facto intersectional.
For our inaugural The C3, we are thrilled to highlight an important and insightful new article on structural ableism from members of the 2023 and 2022 Intersectionality Summer Intensive cohorts respectively: Dielle J. Lundberg, MPH and and Dr. Jessica Chen. Dielle is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle, WA. Dr. Chen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and Core Investigator in the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Dielle J. Lundberg, MPH (she/her or ze/hir) is a PhD student at the University of Washington School of Public Health and completing a Graduate Certificate through the University of Washington Disability Studies Program. Ze is also a multi-media artist interested in the ways that art can foster connection, engagement, and health. Hir personal and professional mission is to dismantle structural ableism in public health and healthcare and “crip” health research, practice, and education from disabled, neurodivergent, and mad perspectives. Ze is also interested in the ways that disabled people across communities are reimagining health systems. Dielle is a disabled, neurodivergent, transfeminine person. She is a white settler and identifies with/within the queer, crip, and mad communities. Ze currently lives in Seattle, Washington on the unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples past and present including all tribes and bands within the Duwamish, Puyallup, Suquamish, Tulalip, and Muckleshoot nations. Her website with more information is diellelundberg.com.
Dr. Jess Chen
Jessica (Jess) A. Chen (she/her) is a 2nd-generation Taiwanese-American cisgender woman, a settler currently on the land of the Coast Salish people (specifically, the Duwamish, Muckleshoot, and Stillaguamish Tribes), and a person living with disability. She is a psychologist, health services researcher, therapist, academic coach, and writer. Dr. Chen holds the titles of assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and Core Investigator in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Chen’s academic life is about advancing research in the structural determinants of mental health and behavioral healthcare, particularly in the arenas of trauma and substance use disorders. Beyond academia, Dr. Chen aspires to shape cultural understandings of trauma and individual and collective healing. Her website for more information is jessicachenphd.com.
“We Can’t Talk about Intersectionality Without Considering Disability”
Why was it important to you and your co-authors to write this article?
DL: The impetus for this article for me was that after completing my first semester of my PhD program in Fall 2022, I was extremely frustrated by the ways health researchers talk – or fail to talk – about disability. Ableism was rarely mentioned in the health services scholarship I was reading, and if it was, it was always at the interpersonal or internalized levels. This distressed me because I think both of these forms of ableism stem directly from structural ableism. For example, two recent studies – both by Dr. Carli Friedman and collaborators – have found that most health care professionals and disability support professionals have substantial disability-related biases, which obviously greatly informs how disabled people come to view themselves too. While we can focus on individuals, it seems to me very important to also examine how structural ableism is creating and upholding all this and to call everyone – regardless of where you have been or where you are at – into the collective work of dismantling this system.
On a personal level, as a disabled, mad, and neurodivergent person, I feel like so much of my own journey has been unlearning the ways that health systems taught me I was abnormal, a problem, or broken and learning how to self-advocate and stand up for myself in health care settings. There have been many instances where I was not listened to in health care settings that harmed my health and reduced my autonomy, and I hear the same thing from people in the disabled community on an almost daily basis. Jess as my primary advisor at the University of Washington shared in a lot of these views and frustrations, and so this paper just sort of emerged from there.
I’m also curious about your decision to publish it in The Lancet Regional Health – Americas. Tell us the significance of that journal for this article/topic.
DL: The journey of this article was that we started the article in December 2022 and originally submitted to Health Affairs in Spring 2023, as our envisioned audience was health services researchers. When they declined, we re-submitted to The Lancet – Public Health where they have recently published some articles focused on health equity for disabled people. It was reviewed there, and after we made the changes that were suggested, it was transferred to The Lancet Regional Health – Americas where it was reviewed again. At each juncture, we changed the article a fair amount. Our initial article was pretty narrowly focused. The conceptual framework came about because we were consistently asked for more examples of structural ableism.
Overall, I’m happy with where the article found a home as I feel the reviewers offered insightful comments overall that strengthened the article and challenged us for example to engage with more scholarship from outside of the U.S. From what I have seen, The Lancet Regional Health – Americas is publishing a lot of excellent scholarship related to health equity, and we had a good experience publishing there.
What, if any, was one of the most challenging parts of writing this article?
DL: The review process was really intense. We responded to 9 sets of reviewer comments between the different journals, and it involved re-writing the article multiple times. This was constructive but challenging. The general reaction to our article seemed to be – “important… hard though… can you do this more thoroughly?… but also we have to keep the length and reference count reasonable.” A related challenge is that structural ableism operates in similar but also distinct ways for various communities of disabled, chronically ill, deaf (e.g. structural audism), neurodivergent (e.g. structural neuroableism), and/or mad people (e.g. structural sanism). A similar sort of article as this one could be written for many specific communities – and hopefully will be.
On a personal level, finding a balance between staying true to my own voice while making the article accessible to the researchers and policy-makers who we most wanted to reach was hard to balance. Hopefully where we did not succeed or go deep enough, it presents opportunities for future scholarship.
Humorously, one reviewer did begin their review by opining that our article read a bit like a manifesto. While we did not of course say this in the response document, I will reply here by opining that in my view, much of the public health and health services literature reads a bit like a manifesto in support of ableism.
Now tell me about what the most enjoyable part of writing this article?
DL: The most enjoyable part of writing this article for me was the new collaborators and mentors I met through it. I am someone who communicates much more easily in writing than verbally, and so it was really helpful for me to have a piece of writing that I could share with people to say, “Look – this is what we are thinking about right now! Can we discuss it?” Two folks I got to meet through this paper, who are doing a lot of critical research and advocacy to advance health equity for disabled and deaf people are Dr. Bonnielin Swenor – Director of the Johns Hopkins University Disability Health Research Center – and Dr. Poorna Kushalnagar – Director of the Center for Deaf Health Equity at Gallaudet University. I also joined the Disability Studies Graduate Certificate program at the University of Washington, which has given me a bit of a home at UW. It was also really cool to discuss this article over the last year in my (very active) group chat with my neurodivergent friends, as I think those conversations all brought us closer and helped us to develop stronger identities as neurodivergent people as well.
This was also an exciting time to publish this article, which we didn’t really expect when we started it. Dr. Swenor and Dr. Rupa Valdez wrote an important article about structural ableism in spring 2023, and this was followed by another article by Dr. Dimitri Christakis and Dr. Lisa Iezzoni this fall. Having both of those articles come out – along with the NIH’s recent designation of persons with disabilities as a “population with health disparities” – all highlights the fact that there is a growing reckoning occurring around structural ableism in public heath and health care. It was exciting to be writing this article at this time. It was also cool to be revising it while I attended the Intersectionality Training Institute Summer Intensive and have conversations with Jess and others there related to it.
There’s a growing literature on structural racism, and to a lesser extent, structural sexism, but I think it’s fair to say that your new article is one of the first to focus specifically on structural ableism. What is structural ableism and why do Intersectionalia readers need to know about it?
Jessica Chen (JC): In the article, we begin our description of structural ableism by naming it “a system of historical and contemporary policies, institutions, and societal norms and practices that devalue and disadvantage people who are disabled, neurodivergent, chronically ill, mad, and/ or living with mental illness and privilege people who are positioned as able-bodied and able-minded.” Our expanded definition and discussion of how structural ableism functions in public health and health care draws upon foundational work by disability justice leaders such as Mia Mingus, TL Lewis, Patty Berne, among others cited in the article. We hope that Intersectionalia readers read and cite these scholars, if they are not already familiar with them.
We can’t talk about intersectionality without considering disability. Many ideas from the disability justice movement are foundational to analyses of structural racism or structural sexism, namely systems that assign value to people based on productivity or desirability. Similarly, as we point out in the article, policies and institutions that uphold ableism also bolster racism, sexism, and other-isms. I often refer back to Sonya Renee Taylor’s use of the term “body-based oppression” to think about all of the interconnected systems that create and perpetuate inequity based on our discomfort with human bodies. One of our supplemental reading lists (Supplementary Table 4) is tailor-made for Intersectionalia readers – Selected Literature on Intersectionality and Ableism.
What is your highest hope for this article you and your coauthors have written? In other words, what would you like it to do/achieve?
JC: Our highest hopes for our article are that (1) it provides an intellectual jolt to your day-to-day work, infusing your scholarship with new ideas and perspectives, and (2) it honors and uplifts the work that disability justice activists, writers, and researchers have been doing for decades. We hope that people read and cite the disability studies authors mentioned in our article and engage deeply with the ideas. If we get what we wish for, then my hope is that we continue to engage in an ever-evolving conversation about structural ableism and intersectionality that advances both fields of study.
Intersectionality, as you know well, is not just about identities. It’s critically important that intersectionality scholars keep our sights on “intersectionality as critical praxis,” that to quote Patricia Hill Collins, “… sheds light on the doing of social justice work”. Thus, what are some practical implications of this new work for intervention, including at the structural level such as laws and policies?
JC: There you go, calling out my ever-present existential question about scholarship and praxis – how can I, situated in academia, effect change in the material world, including at a structural level with laws and policies? Dielle and I have conversations about this with every new project, article, or grant that we write. Concretely, the article includes a Supplemental Table 2 (Selected Literature on Policies Related to Structural Ableism) that cites economic, social, health, and built and virtual environmental policies that could be modified, enacted, or dismantled to make for a less ableist society. I am personally interested in policy consulting and policy evaluation, so I see many possibilities here for intervening on existing policies and evaluating the impact of that intervention.
Other than, go read the article, what else would you like Intersectionalia readers to know about the issue of structural ableism as it relates to the intersectionality work that they’re currently doing or planning to do?
JC: Dielle put together an excellent Figure 2, “6 principles for studying structural ableism.” People trained at the Intersectionality Institute should find some of these ideas familiar. When Dielle and I discussed these principles and similar ideas for how we will conduct research together, we came back time and again to the self-reflection and self-/discipline-critique at the heart of the Intersectionality Summer Intensive. Principles #1 and #6 are about interrogating the ways in which the very work you do could be upholding the systems of oppression that you seek to dismantle. Principles #4 and #5 are all about intersectionality and power analysis – looking beyond identities. Principle #3 addresses cultural differences and hints at some questions that are at the heart of disability studies – what is disability actually? and to what extent is disability an experience that only exists in relation to capitalism and other contextual factors? Finally, principle #2 feels more specific to disability studies to me and is a very important point about resisting the biomedical model but also, more broadly, the positivist paradigm as discussed by Dr. Bowleg during the Summer Intensive.
Page with all dissemination materials (more will be added this and next month): structural-ableism-2023.diellelundberg.com
25-Minute Article Summary Video on YouTube:
Would you like to be featured in The C3? We’d love to hear from you. Please email us at info@
We thank you in advance for your support.
New Books on Intersectionality and Violence from Patricia Hill Collins and Kimberlé Crenshaw
Patricia Hill Collins, PhD
Collins, P. H. (2024). Lethal intersections: Race, gender, and violence. Polity.
A hearty congratulations to Dr. Collins for this impressive honor and accomplishment! Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention how thrilled we are that Dr. Collins will be our Distinguished Guest and Keynote Speaker at our 2024 Intersectionality Summer Intensive.
Kimberlé Crenshaw, JD
Crenshaw, K., & African American Policy Forum. (2023). #SayHerName: Black women’s stories of police violence and public silence. Haymarket.
Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw Interviewed About New Book
Professor Crenshaw talked about her new book on C-Span’s Washington Journal in a December, 29, 2023 interview.
Got something that you’d like to see featured in This, That & The Other? We’d like to know about it. Please email us at info@
What’s Your Street Race? Intersectionality for Revising Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Federal Guidelines on Race and Ethnicity
- Dr. López’s discussed how her lived experience as a Black Latina informs her research and advocacy against the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) efforts to combine census questions on “race” and ethnicity into a single question. López explained that “race” and ethnicity are two socially, theoretically, analytically distinct entities. The former is a social status with a visual component; the latter refers to cultural heritage. The conflation of them into one, as OMB is proposing to do, contributes to the decoupling of why and for whom the data on race are supposed to be collected: to examine program delivery and advancement of civil rights (e.g., monitoring voting rights, housing discrimination).
- The combination of race and ethnicity into single question renders groups such as Black Latina/ox people and Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) people invisible.
- López emphasized the need for disaggregated data about “race” and ethnicity, but stressed that this was not the same as intersectional inquiry or practice. She cited as an example her research on educational attainment, noting that just looking at disaggregated data on Colombians, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans is insufficient for understanding educational outcomes for Black Colombians compared with White or Asian Colombians. She called the Biden Administrations executive order for data equity and disaggregation “beautiful,” but reinforced the importance of an intersectional lens: “if you’re not intersectional [in analyzing disaggregated data], that’s not enough.”
- “Statistical gaslighting” was the term López used to describe many of the U.S. Census Bureau’s practices around eliminating color from any mention of “race.” Specifically, the Bureau has never included a single social outcome in any of their testing. Thus, no Census data exists on the relationship between racialization and key civil rights monitoring outcomes such as voting rights, fair housing, and employment discrimination.
- There is evidence that the U.S. Census Bureau reallocates people into single “races” in their population counts regardless of whether they check multiple race boxes. This has real implications for civil rights outcomes such as voting as in the Louisiana legal case in which GOP officials are arguing to include only people who check “Black” or “Black and White” and do not identify as Latina count as Black.
- The assumption that all Latinos are a racial monolith is pernicious; a manifestation of color blind racism and “abstract liberal attitude towards data” that willfully ignores all of the ways that Brown and Black Latino children and adults are discriminated against based on their “street race.”
- López noted that decades-long calls for the scientific study on the measurement of “race” and a consensus study about how to measure “race” and ethnicity have been unproductive. “Why is this so scary?” she asked repeatedly, noting that the failure for the Census Bureau to conduct such research was “anti-science.” Notably, a consensus study on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) found that sexual orientation and gender identity were analytically distinct concepts, the exact argument that López and colleagues have been arguing about “race” and ethnicity.
- Asked how researchers should measure “race,” “street race,” and ethnicity, López recommended:
- Including a question about self-identified “race”;
- Including a question about street race in the middle of the questionnaire. For example, “Based on what you look like (e.g., skin color, hair texture, etc.), what race do you think others who don’t know you would assume you are?”;
- Researchers tell participants why they are asking these questions and what the data will be used for (e.g., to assess experiences of discrimination);
- Including a question about ethnicity (i.e., cultural heritage); and
- Telling respondents that they can check two boxes for “race”
- Dr. López also, hands-down, won our prize for most resources (e.g., upcoming intersectionality conferences) and book and article references shared by a salon guest. Brava!
Because most of the articles that we highlight during the salons and chats are copyrighted, we are not able to provide active links, just citations. Please let us know if you are having trouble locating an article (email@example.com) and we’ll do our best to try and get you a copy.
Carbado, D. W. (2013). Colorblind intersectionality. Signs, 38(4), 811-845. https://doi.org/10.1086/669666
Bonilla-Silva, E. (2017). Racism without racists: Colorblind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America (5th ed.). Rowman & Littlefield.
The Black Latina/o/x Population
Galdámez, M., Gómez, M., Pérez, R., Salome, L. R., Silber, J., Domínguez-Villegas, R., … & López, J. (2023). Centering Black Latinidad: A profile of the US Afro-Latinx population and complex inequalities. UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Institute. 2023. https://latino.ucla.edu/research/centering-black-latinidad/
Dr. López’s Research, and Research, Collaborations on Race, Street Race and Intersectionality
Gonzalez, D., López, N., Karpman, M., Furtado, K., Kenney, G. M., McDaniel, M., & O’Brien, C. (2022). Observing Race and Ethnicity through a New Lens. https://www.urban.org/research/publication/observing-race-and-ethnicity-through-new-lens
López, N., & Gadsen, V. (2017). Health inequities, social determinants, and intersectionality. In K. Bogard, V. McBride Murry, & C. Alexander (Eds.), Perspectives on health equity and social determinants of health (pp. 9-30). National Academy of Medicine. https://nam.edu/perspectives-on-health-equity-and-social-determinants-of-health/
López, N., Vargas, E., Juarez, M., Cacari-Stone, L., & Bettez, S. (2017). What’s your “street race”? Leveraging multidimensional measures of Race and intersectionality for examining physical and mental health status among Latinxs. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 4(1), 49-66. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2332649217708798
López, N. (2020). Hopeful girls, troubled boys: Race and gender disparity in urban education. Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Hopeful-Girls-Troubled-Boys-Race-and-Gender-Disparity-in-Urban-Education/Lopez/p/book/9780415930758
López, N., & Hogan, H. (2021). What’s your street race? The urgency of Critical Race Theory and intersectionality as lenses for revising the U.S. Office of Management and Budget Guidelines, Census and administrative data in Latinx communities and beyond. Genealogy, 5(3), 75. https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy5030075
Epistemic Resistance to Intersectionality:
Settles, I. H., Warner, L. R., Buchanan, N. T., & Jones, M. K. (2020). Understanding psychology’s resistance to intersectionality theory using a framework of epistemic exclusion and invisibility. Journal of Social Issues, 76(4), 796-813. https://spssi.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josi.12403
Dr. López’s Recommended Reading List:
Candelario, G. E. (2007). Black behind the ears: Dominican racial identity from museums to beauty shops. Duke University.
Franco, F. (2015). Blacks, mulattos, and the Dominican Nation. Routledge.
Omi, M., & Winant, H. (1986/2015). Racial formation in the United States (3rd ed.). Routledge.
Telles, E. (2014). Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, race, and color in Latin America. UNC Press. https://uncpress.org/book/9781469617831/pigmentocracies/
Yuval-Davis, N. (2011). The politics of belonging: Intersectional contestations. Sage.
Upcoming Intersectionality and Sociology Conferences Mentioned By Dr. López:
Sociologists for Women in Society: https://socwomen.org/meetings/winter-meeting-2024/
American Sociological Association: https://www.asanet.org/2024-annual-meeting/
The National Multicultural Conference and Summit: https://www.multiculturalsummit.org
- Transform Your Health Equity Work: Get Up to Speed on Intersectionality: January 12, 2024
- Land That Grant! Write a Winning Intersectionality Grant Proposal: February 2, 2024
- Get That Dissertation Done! Navigating the Intersectional Dissertation: May 17, 2024
The 2024 Intersectionality Summer Intensive application windowcloses on February 9, 2024 at 11:59 pm EST
A few weeks ago, while doing a Google Scholar intersectionality search, we were surprised and delighted to find that unbeknownst to us, authors have highlighted and acknowledged the Intersectionality Training Institute in their work. And for this, we say to a hearty thank you. Check out their work:
Rice, B. M. (2023). Using nursing science to advance policy and practice in the context of social and structural determinants of health. Nursing Outlook, 71(6), 102060. https://www.nursingoutlook.org/article/S0029-6554(23)00165-3/fulltext
Thompson, H. M., Wang, T. M., Talan, A. J., Baker, K. E., & Restar, A. J. (2023). First they came for us all: Responding to anti-transgender structural violence with collective, community-engaged, and intersectional health equity research and advocacy. Health Education & Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1177/