Semester: Wintersemester 2014/2015

3.90.156 A Critical Appraisal of Intersectionality (Dr. Norah Barongo)


  • Sa , 29.11.2014 09:00 - 18:00


EMMIR workshop open to students from other MA courses
Carried out by Dr. Norah Barongo (EMMIR)

Saturday, 29 November, 9-18h

Until now, the study of difference has mainly handled asymmetrical relationships between the centers and the margins of power. Differences across categories have been widely explored whilst differences within categories have escaped attention. Against this background, while both drawing on the intersectionality framework and expanding its boundaries, this workshop seeks to reconceptualise the notion of difference with the view to challenge approaches embedded into universalism.
It aims to identify the analytical tools of intersectionality relevant for tackling difference and multiple intra-inequalities amongst minority categories within the North-South transnationalism. It seeks to explore how knowledge of the intersectionality framework may contribute to concrete social and political transformation in the South given that it has mainly been applied to the North and extensively underdeveloped in the postcolonial South’s contexts of difference, identity and multiple inequalities.
It identifies new concepts and more inclusive approaches that could be required in order to effectively address intersectionality and thereby challenges traditional assumptions about power, gender relations and identity constructions amongst minority and dominant categories.
Viewing participants as active players, the workshop thus seeks to provide a framework in which the theoretical knowledge that is already gained in specific contexts of feminist theory can be further developed and translated into practice in a variety of relevant transnational settings.
It applies the intersectional framework beyond its most explored confines (sociology, feminism and law??), and by exploring its links to policy, bearing in mind current issues. Two theoretical perspectives are introduced in a context promoting both a structural and social-cultural analysis: (1) Postcolonial theory and (2) Bourdieu’s sociology of the habitus.

The workshop will promote social reflexivity through strengthening two distinct but interrelated competencies: (a) critical-self-reflection; (b) critical discourse analysis. Participants will be in position to critically analyse relations between different oppressions and their mutual reinforcement, and to identify the roles played by subjects in different relations of oppression and their transformation. Participants will also gain instruments for improving theory and praxis. The focus is on understanding context to yield scientific and societal transformative insights. Hence, configuring and integrating new concepts to support and promote change is also an expected outcome of the workshop. Students will explore an introduction to the concepts and analytical tools for executing multidimensional analysis which includes a range of theoretical positions and concepts that identify different types of relationships within anti-oppressive discourses and provide critical tools for addressing the blind spots they produce, while also denouncing the remedy/barrier asymmetry.

The main books for the workshop are:
Barongo-Muweke, N. (2010): Gender, ethnicity, class and family Structure in International Labour Migration. The case of African women in Germany and England. Oldenburg: BIS Verlag
Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice (trans.R.Nice). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Crenshaw, K. (1989) ‘Demarginalizing the intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’ in: University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989 pp. 137-167.
Fanon, F (1967). Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press.
Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. Critical Inquiry, 8(4), 777-795.

Additional Sources
These highlight the debate on dual citizenship in the South. They will be drawn on to demonstrate the relevance of intersectionality in public policy as demonstrated by Uganda’s case and the reaction from the diaspora.



  • mir120 Evaluating und Developing Research Methods for Transcultural Contexts
  • mir130 Theorizing Historical and Contemporary Migration Processes & Intercultural Relations
  • mir320 Theory and Methods in Migration Studies


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