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Teaching for intersectionality: insights from a relational cultural perspective

Teaching for intersectionality: insights from a relational cultural perspective This paper aims to consider the use of relational cultural theory (RCT) as an underlying, processual orientation for teaching with those who are living and learning at the intersection of multiple, marginalised identities.Design/methodology/approachThe concept of intersectionality is defined, and key characteristics of intersectional approaches are described. The criticality of teaching for intersectionality-related social justice goals involving inclusion, engagement, mattering, empowerment and critical inquiry as foundations for critical praxis is identified. Consideration is given to the viability of RCT as an underlying orientation for teaching with students who live and learn at the intersection of multiple, marginalised identities.FindingsRCT is consonant with key characteristics of intersectional approaches, including rejection of essentialist perspectives; recognising the roles of power in creating, maintaining and legitimising interlocking marginalisations; retaining race as a critical point of intersectional analysis and practice; recognising the validity of insights obtained from non-dominant standpoints; and working to fulfill social justice goals. Practical guidelines from RCT that support social justice goals include facilitating student voice within a context of radical respect; use of “disruptive empathy”; attending to particular experiences within the context of systemic power dynamics; using co-active “power with” versus “power over” students; relying on mutuality and fluid expertise; and reframing student resistance.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper provides a foundational overview of the history, nature and uses of RCT as an underlying processual orientation when teaching across diverse academic disciplines for students who live and learn at the intersection of multiple marginalised identities. Detailed case studies involving the application of RCT, including those involving teacher self-reflection would be useful.Practical implicationsGuidelines are provided for the practical application of RCT when teaching for intersectionality across diverse academic disciplines.Social implicationsRCT supports the intersectionality-related social justice goals of inclusion, engagement, mattering, empowerment and critical inquiry as foundations for critical praxis.Originality/valueIntersectional pedagogies have been associated with positive attitudinal, intentional and behavioural outcomes. However, despite some notable exceptions, intersectional pedagogies are still absent in most academic disciplines. This paper provides practical guidance on the use of RCT as an underlying processual orientation when teaching for intersectionality across diverse academic disciplines. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal for Multicultural Education Emerald Publishing

Teaching for intersectionality: insights from a relational cultural perspective

Journal for Multicultural Education , Volume 15 (1): 14 – Jun 4, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2053-535X
DOI
10.1108/jme-11-2019-0082
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper aims to consider the use of relational cultural theory (RCT) as an underlying, processual orientation for teaching with those who are living and learning at the intersection of multiple, marginalised identities.Design/methodology/approachThe concept of intersectionality is defined, and key characteristics of intersectional approaches are described. The criticality of teaching for intersectionality-related social justice goals involving inclusion, engagement, mattering, empowerment and critical inquiry as foundations for critical praxis is identified. Consideration is given to the viability of RCT as an underlying orientation for teaching with students who live and learn at the intersection of multiple, marginalised identities.FindingsRCT is consonant with key characteristics of intersectional approaches, including rejection of essentialist perspectives; recognising the roles of power in creating, maintaining and legitimising interlocking marginalisations; retaining race as a critical point of intersectional analysis and practice; recognising the validity of insights obtained from non-dominant standpoints; and working to fulfill social justice goals. Practical guidelines from RCT that support social justice goals include facilitating student voice within a context of radical respect; use of “disruptive empathy”; attending to particular experiences within the context of systemic power dynamics; using co-active “power with” versus “power over” students; relying on mutuality and fluid expertise; and reframing student resistance.Research limitations/implicationsThis paper provides a foundational overview of the history, nature and uses of RCT as an underlying processual orientation when teaching across diverse academic disciplines for students who live and learn at the intersection of multiple marginalised identities. Detailed case studies involving the application of RCT, including those involving teacher self-reflection would be useful.Practical implicationsGuidelines are provided for the practical application of RCT when teaching for intersectionality across diverse academic disciplines.Social implicationsRCT supports the intersectionality-related social justice goals of inclusion, engagement, mattering, empowerment and critical inquiry as foundations for critical praxis.Originality/valueIntersectional pedagogies have been associated with positive attitudinal, intentional and behavioural outcomes. However, despite some notable exceptions, intersectional pedagogies are still absent in most academic disciplines. This paper provides practical guidance on the use of RCT as an underlying processual orientation when teaching for intersectionality across diverse academic disciplines.

Journal

Journal for Multicultural EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 4, 2021

Keywords: Education; Pedagogy; Intersectionality; Social justice; Relational cultural theory; Relational

References