IIS1058 | Introducing Intersectionality

Course Information

  • 2020-21
  • IIS1058
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
  • III, IV, V
  • Nov 2020
  • Seminar Course

The law must understand the social to which it speaks and responds. Its ability to do justice depends on this understanding. While the law recognizes that there exists difference, the more attentive it is to how difference manifests itself or is lived, the better its capacity to live up to its own ideal and imagination. Difference is not always discreet and inequality can often be aggravated by the simultaneity of more than one form of difference that manifests as marginality. This is precisely what intersectionality equips us to pay attention to and address. There are many ways of writing the history of intersectionality but a broad consensus exists around Kimberle Crenshaw’s work on anti-discrimination law in the US as pioneering the field. While a thin approach to intersectionality may choose to focus on an additive approach to forms of difference (caste +gender and so on), this course seeks to introduce students to a thicker conception of intersectionality that not only understands what happens when one lives a life where more than one difference manifests as marginality but also how already formed analytics may be insufficient to understand and address what happens when one experiences discrimination that does not separate what are imagined as discrete identities.

The course uses academic writing, legal texts, commentaries, personal narratives, fiction and cultural texts to understand how intersectionality affects our study of the law, advocacy, and activism; how the law, legal studies and legal practice is transformed by intersectionality; and how intersectionality challenges, resists, and reimagines legal normativity.


Jayna Kothari

Visiting Faculty