Intersectionality’s enormous success raises questions about its purchase as a critical methodology outside the context of its origin, as to how it has taken on meaning and use in Global South contexts. Its widespread espousal across disciplines within Western academia itself compels one to ask whether curricula – and how these are transacted in classrooms – are informed by its analytic insight, and if so, what are the challenges in enacting it as critical pedagogy. In this paper, I bring into conversation key Anglo-American and Indian feminist scholars writing about intersectionality and reflect on my own methodological and pedagogical engagements with it in India and the UK to address these questions. I demonstrate how intersectionality has given me the lens and the language to reveal how Dalit women today not only speak differently from Dalit men and upper-caste women but that differences are emerging amongst them in terms of class and level of political consciousness. I also show how intersectionality can be and needs to be used as critical pedagogy for the urgent task of decolonising feminist classrooms in the British higher education context.

Author Biography

Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Edinburgh.