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Moving the Goalposts

Postcolonial Intersections and Mobilities

Stéphanie Ponsavady

The articles in this issue’s special section strike a balance of disciplines, geographical areas, scales, and seniority levels, and offer thought-provoking examples of studies of postcolonial intersectional locations of mobile people and ideas in Asia. This response seeks to tease out the potential avenues not only for future themes of research but also for innovative methods. It concludes with an invitation to better incorporate intersectionality into our research and acknowledge how it also plays out in our own positionality and understanding of mobility.

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Introduction

Postcolonial Intersections. Asia on the Move

Mayurakshi Chaudhuri and Viola Thimm

The past decade has witnessed an exponential growth in literature on the diverse forms, practices, and politics of mobility. Research on migration has been at the forefront of this field. Themes in this respect include heterogeneous practices that have developed out of traditions of resistance to a global historical trajectory of imperialism and colonialism. In response to such historical transformations of recent decades, the nature of postcolonial inquiry has evolved. Such changing postcolonial trajectories and power negotiations are more pronounced in specific parts of the world than in others. To that end, “Postcolonial Intersections: Asia on the Move” is a special section that engages, examines, and analyzes everyday power negotiations, focusing particularly on Asia. Such everyday negotiations explicitly point to pressure points and movements across multiple geosocial scales where gender, religion, age, social class, and caste, to name a few, are constantly negotiated and redefined via changing subjectivities.

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Barbara Donovan

The paper uses the concept of intersectionality to examine the experiences of politicians with migrant backgrounds in Germany. The last decade has seen a significant increase in the number of persons with migrant backgrounds integrating into political parties and winning elections to both federal and regional legislatures. Do the migrant experiences of these persons shape their politics? Theories of substantive representation have suggested that gender shapes representation. What about the racial and ethnic identities that often coexist with immigrant status? Moreover, how do those identities and experiences interact with the prerogatives of party, partisanship, and regional representation? This study uses data gathered from both the federal and regional level to explore and explain the role of migrant-related concerns in the political behavior and articulated preferences of politicians with migrant background in Germany. It further explores how these relate to gender, careers, representational roles, and partisan identification. The article concludes that a consideration of the interaction of migrant identity with other factors allows us to see multiple dimensions of representation in Germany today.

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Deborah Stienstra

Recently global attention has been directed to the situations of girls and boys with disabilities, yet research tells us little about the experiences and perspectives of girls with disabilities except that their lives are filled with barriers, violence and stigma. I explore how girlhood studies can authentically include girls with disabilities. Drawing on feminist disability studies, I argue that we can use intersectional theory to identify and include the experiences of girls with disabilities, and explore diverse embodiments of girlhood. In doing this we can remove the trump card of disability and see disabled girls as an integral part of girlhood and girlhood studies.

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Katherine Clonan-Roy

In 1988, Michelle Fine explored the ways in which damaging patriarchal discourses about sexuality affect adolescent girls, and hinder their development of sexual desire, subjectivities, and responsibility. In this article, I emphasize the durability and pliability of those discourses three decades later. While they have endured, they shift depending on context and the intersections of girls’ race, class, and gender identities. Calling on ethnographic research, I analyze the intersectional nuances in these sexual lessons for Latina girls in one (New) Latinx Diaspora town.

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Natalie Clark

In this article I will centre the historic and ongoing resistance of Indigenous girls to violence through colonial policies and practices. I challenge conventional intersectionality scholarship by foregrounding anti-colonialism and Indigenous sovereignty/nationhood. Using examples from my own work, I illustrate the manifestation of colonial power and persistent resistance in the lives of Indigenous girls. Through these stories, I will discuss the everyday practices of witnessing and resisting the discourses of risk. Red intersectionality will be offered as one way forward in relation to my ongoing work on violence.

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Catherine Vanner

In this article, I join a conversation about the definition and value of the term transnational girlhood. After surveying the fields of transnationalism, transnational feminism, and girlhood studies, I reflect on the representation of girls who act or are discussed as transnational figures. I critique the use of the term, analyze movements that connect girls across borders, and close by identifying four features of transnational girlhood: cross-border connections based on girls’ localized lived experiences; intersectional analysis that prioritizes the voices of girls from the Global South who, traditionally, have had fewer opportunities to speak than their Global North counterparts; recognition of girls’ agency and the structural constraints, including global structures such as colonialism, international development, and transnational capitalism, in which they operate; and a global agenda for change.

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“For Girls to Feel Safe”

Community Engineering for Sexual Assault Prevention

Day Greenberg and Angela Calabrese Barton

This article explores the efforts of two girls to use STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) knowledge and practice to empower themselves and their peers amid threats of sexual violence against them. Drawing on the feminist construct of intersectionality and social practice theory, we examine how these girls called on intersecting knowledge, practices, people, and scales of activity (different scopes of action) to reclaim space, voice, and peace in the face of violence and fear, scaffolded by adults who became their partners for change.

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Research on Gender and the Military in Israel

From a Gendered Organization to Inequality Regimes

Orna Sasson-Levy

This article offers an analytical review of the research on gender and the military in Israel since the 1970s. I argue that the research in this field has undergone a paradigmatic shift that is based on five analytical transformations: (1) a move from a binary gendered conception to intersectionality analysis; (2) a shift from a dichotomous perception of the military organization to an analysis based on 'inequality regime' theory; (3) an emphasis on women as agents of change and resistance; (4) a focus on men and militarized masculinities; and (5) macro-analysis of the significance of women's service in a militaristic society. The article concludes with a discussion of the current political dynamics and conflicts that shape both the construction of the military gender regime and the production of the research in this field.

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Explorations in Ethnoelephantology

Social, Historical, and Ecological Intersections between Asian Elephants and Humans

Piers Locke

Humans and elephants have lived together and shared space together in diverse ways for millennia. The intersections between these thinking and feeling species have been differently explored, for different reasons, by disciplines across the sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Such disciplinary divisions, predicated on oppositions of human-animal and nature-culture, are integral to the configuration of modernist thought. However, posthumanist and biocultural thinking questions the underlying epistemological conventions, thereby opening up interdisciplinary possibilities for human-animal studies. In relation to issues of conflict and coexistence, this article charts the emergence of an interdisciplinary research program and discursive space for human-elephant intersections under the rubric of ethnoelephantology. Recognizing continuities between the sentient and affective lifeworlds of humans and elephants, the mutual entanglements of their social, historical, and ecological relations, and the relevance of combining social and natural science methodologies, the article surveys recent research from anthropology, history, and geography that exemplifies this new approach.