© Theresa Siver 2014


In their paper Identity, Oppression, and Power: Feminism and Intersectionality Theory, Samuels and Ross-Sheriff present those who engage with intersectionality with three challenges: avoid essentializing any one expression of identity (race, sexual orientation, class) over another, acknowledge interconnected privileges as well as oppressions, and pay mind to the changes in context that shift the designation of social identity and status. These challenges serve as an unpacking of the more general definition and purpose of intersectionality that “proposes that gender cannot be used as a single analytic frame without also exploring how issues of race, migration status, history, and social class, in particular, come to bear on one’s experience as a woman.” In this paper, dissatisfaction with intersectionality is taken to be a symptom of an insufficient epistemological picture. I very briefly touch on the epistemological setting offered to us by Descartes and move on to examine that provided by Quine at somewhat greater length and show how neither offers us sufficient tools to interact with people in a manner that would satisfy the intersectionalist. I then present a metaphor that I suggest our epistemology would need to grow out of for us to sufficiently deal with intersectionality.



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