The Urgency of Intersectionality for Addressing Systemic Inequities in Higher Ed

In her 2016 TED Talk, The Urgency of Intersectionality, Kimberlé Crenshaw, the African American law professor who coined the term “intersectionality” observed: "We all know that when there's no name for a problem, you can't see a problem, and when you can't see a problem you pretty much can't solve it.” I will define what it means to take an intersectional approach when supporting the learning needs of students enrolled in contentious courses that actively address equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) issues. The Werklund School of Education’s undergraduate course, Diversity in Learning, has been held up as an EDI exemplar and I will be drawing from my experience leading this course to talk about ways we all can move towards inclusive and equitable teaching practices. I will conclude by overtly addressing the toll such work can take on those of us who actively teach EDI topics and what allies can do to support us.

By the end of this session, participants will

  • Define intersectionality and why it is so urgent for EDI in post-secondary contexts
  • Consider ways to support the learning needs of students in EDI focussed courses
  • Identify ways to support scholars who actively teach or research EDI topics

Facilitator: Dr. Tonya D. Callaghan, PhD

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