Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Intersections of

Intersections of

nkechi's picture

Day of Learning Workshop

Black Feminism: Thinking Critically About Race and Gender

Submitting this workshop proposal as my first web event. This workshop was the only one described to also be about intersectionality. At a conference discussing race at Bryn Mawr and beyond, there is no way to talk about race without being intersectional, tangled together, and therefore, ecological. 

Our "Identity Matters" 360° was centered on the concept of “intersectionality,” an integrated analysis and practice based on the conviction that the major systems of oppression are interlocking. In this workshop, we will draw on several theories of black feminism to think, talk, listen and act together about the ways in which intersectionality creates the conditions of all our lives, whatever our race, class or genders.



Therefore, we can use the writings of Black Feminists to discuss the opening for Intersectional identities of POC on this campus as our 360 is in a perfect position to bring the topic of intersectionality to this day of learning. I think it would be great to talk about Space and Silence in the context of Black Feminism. For some people who may be attending, they may not know much about Black Feminism or about intersectionality. There are many questions we can ask here: What do we lose as a campus when we lose spaces like Perry House? Intersections of being a student and being a person of color? Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, and Bryn Mawr?

The Workshop:


    1. Overview of Feminism/Intersectionality. Brief introduction to Black Feminism

        1. Why is Intersectionality Important?
        2. Do we want to do an intro to the 360 and what we learned? Is that too self-indulgent?

        3. Combahee River Collective: We are 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.The synthesis of these oppressions creates the conditions of our lives. (The Combahee River Collective Statement, 1977)

        4. Quick discussion about the lack of space for Black voices in academic/social Discourse, and the exclusion of Black women from White Feminist demonstrations

          1. Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s refusal to back the 15th amendment


          2. Black women told to march separately at the back of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913


        5. Watch: Patricia Arquette Backstage interview Oscars 2015
  1. Watch: Nightly Show Panel of Black Women in response to Patricia Arquette’s Oscar Speech


  2. Barometer 

    1. Feminist writings by POC were included in my education

    2. Feminist writings by white women are also applicable to WOC

    3. Bryn Mawr has made steps in the right direction to be more accessible to Students of Color (Examples?)

  3. Index Card silent Question Activity


  1. Activities

    1. Semi Silent Gallery (Stay in Groups)

      1. Mimicking the silencing of Black Feminists in academic spaces, we will have participants walk around the walls where quotes will be on the walls. Participants will be given post it notes and will write their thoughts Questions to focus on: How do we see this playing out in the world? At Bryn Mawr? Feelings about it? I think it could be good to not pass the papers, that was part of the criticism before.

        1. bell hooks: feminism is "the movement to end sexism" (discrimination based on sexual difference); this includes “benevolent sexism" (a positive orientation of protection, idealization, and affection, underpinned by traditional stereotyping of the man as the provider and woman as his dependent).There can be no such thing as "power feminism”….When women with class power opportunistically use a feminist platform…they betray themselves....The only genuine hope of feminist liberation…challenges class elitism….Advancing the notion that there can be many "feminisms" has served the conservative and liberal political interest of women seeking status and privileged class power...Feminism is for everybody.(Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics, 2000)

        2. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw: the concept of intersectionality “grew out of trying to conceptualize the way the law responded to issues where both race and gender discrimination were involved. What happened was like an accident, a collision. Intersectionality simply came from the idea that if you’re standing in the path of multiple forms of exclusion, you are likely to get hit by both. These women are injured, but when the race ambulance and the gender ambulance arrive at the scene, they see these women of color lying in the intersection and they say, “Well, we can’t figure out if this was just race or just sex discrimination. And unless they can show us which one it was, we can’t help them.” (“Intersectionality; The Double Bind of Race and Gender,” Perspectives, Spring 2004)

        3. Patricia Hill Collins: outsider-within positions "can produce distinctive oppositional knowledges that embrace multiplicity yet remain cognizant of power… a dynamic practice which is responsive to change and current social, historical, and political conditions…a distinctive standpoint on existing sociological paradigms” (“Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought,” Social Problems 33, 6, December 1986)

      2. Bring Back to the larger group (Discussion)

    2. Small Group Discussions about Spaces at Bryn Mawr and how accessible they are to StudentsOC

      1. How do these spaces allow/silence the voices of POC? Do people of color occupy these spaces? Why? How can these spaces be more accessible?

        1. SGA

        2. Perry House

        3. Student Employment

        4. Classrooms

      2. Bring to Larger Discussion, presentation from each group + discussion

    3. Big Group Discussion

      1. Where might we go from here?What is the one single thing you would recommend that would make the campus more inclusive?

      2. Katie’s notes about holding the administration accountable were really valuable. I think that should be included here. It doesn’t have to be a big structured conversation, but rather, a free flowing discussion using what was just learned, using the principles of listening that we learned last semester. How can we move forward? Although this discussion is always hard to have, because people don’t know, I still think it’s important to get people thinking about our role.