93541 - Politics of intersectionality (Lm)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Sandro Mezzadra

  • Credits 6

  • SSD SPS/01

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Information, Cultures and Media Organisation (cod. 5698)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Sep 19, 2022 to Oct 26, 2022

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing students with the methodological and conceptual tools to analyze the interlocking of different systems of oppression in contemporary social experience. Consistently with international debates on intersectionality, it focuses on the issues of gender, race, and class, reconstructing their historical development and analyzing their mutations in the global present. At the end of the course, students: - manage the methods to analyze different forms of oppression and discrimination; - are aware of the basic questions at stake in international debates on intersectionality; - are able to investigate the specificity of social and political processes from the angle of gender, race, and class in a global perspective; - are able to apply acquired knowledges to the analysis of information and communication processes; - are able to widen their disciplinary training, establishing a relation between the knowledges acquired during the course and their more general educational path.

Course contents

The course is dedicated to a discussion of “intersectionality”, a body of theories and methods that aims at critically analyzing the interlocking of different systems of oppression, whose operations center upon such issues as gender, race, class, and sexuality, as well as of related practices of struggle and resistance. Attention will be paid to the history of intersectionality, which starts long before the explicit formulation of the theory toward the end of the 1980s (Kimberlé Crenshaw). That history largely coincides with the history of Black feminism in the U.S. since the age of slavery. Black feminism will be also at the center of the second part of the course, devoted to a discussion of some of the most important Black feminist works of the last decades.


Books required for the exam:

A. One of the following two:

A. Bohrer, Marxism and Intersectionality. Race, Gender, Class, and Sexuality Under Contemporary Capitalism, Bielefeld, transcript Verlag, 2019.

A. Carasthatis, Intersectionality. Origins, Contestations, Horizons, Lincoln and London, University of Nebraska Press, 2016.

B. One book among the following reading list:

A. Davis, Women, Race & Class, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 2019.

A. Davis, Blues and Black Feminism, New York, Vintage, 1999.

K.-Y. Taylor, How We Get Free. Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017.

A. Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, Harmondsworth, Penguin classics, 2020.

A. Lorde, Zami.A New Spelling of My Name: A Biomythography, Crossing Press, 1982.

bell hooks, Ain’t I a Woman. Black Women and Feminism, London – New York, Routledge, 2014.

P. Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought. Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment, second edition. New York and London, Routledge, 2020.

Further readings will be suggested during the course.

Teaching methods

Lectures will be combined with seminars, with direct involvement of students and possible participation of external guests.

Assessment methods

The exam will be oral. Students attending classes are encouraged although not required to present a paper (around 4.000 words), to be discussed during the exam. Students are required to turn in the paper at least one week before the exam.

Teaching tools

The course presupposes a basic knowledge of the history of modern and contemporary political philosophy. Students who do not have such knowledge in their curriculum can refer to one of the following texts:

S.S. Wolin, Politics and Vision. Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2006
C. Galli (ed), Manuale di storia del pensiero politico, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2011
A. Pandolfi (ed), Nel pensiero politico moderno, Roma, Manifestolibri, 2004

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Sandro Mezzadra