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Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS)

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The Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School will serve as a global focal point for the development, articulation, and application of intersectionality as both a theoretical framework and a cogent practice in law, human rights, and social justice advocacy.

Intersectionality theory provides a dynamic research paradigm—a prism from which to analyze more fully a range of social problems in order to ensure inclusive remedies and greater collaboration across social movements. Intersectionality moves beyond traditional frameworks that separate social problems into discrete challenges facing specific groups. It starts from the premise that people have multiple identities, and being members of more than one “group,” they can simultaneously experience oppression and privilege. Intersectionality sheds light on the unique experiences that are produced when various forms of discrimination intersect with these converging identities. It is a dynamic strategy for linking the grounds of discrimination (e.g., race, gender, class, sexual identity, etc.) to historical, social, economic, political, and legal contexts and norms that intertwine to create structures of oppression and privilege.

Established in 2011, the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School will serve as a global focal point for the development, articulation, and application of intersectionality as both a theoretical framework and a cogent practice in law, human rights, and social justice advocacy.

The first such center of its kind, its research projects and initiatives will bring together scholars and practitioners from law, sociology, feminist and gender studies, human rights, social justice, and other fields to explore the relationship of intersectionality to their work, to shape more effective remedies, and to promote greater collaboration between and across social movements.

As an interdisciplinary hub, the center will partner on projects with the African American Policy Forum, a think tank housed at Columbia Law School, as well as with a variety of other centers and institutes both within the Law School and across the University.

The Center hosts research networks in five topical areas: Labor, Work and Economy; Violence and Exploitation; Education; International Law and Policy; and Health, Disabilities, and Health Disparities, for scholars across disciplines and institutions interested in dialogue, joint publication and analytical efforts, and development of grant-funded research proposals and agendas. In addition, the Center is developing a “Methods Core” to facilitate networking and dialogue between scholars from various fields interested in developing and refining methodological tools within the field of intersectionality scholarship and policy advocacy.

Interested academics or policy advocates may apply to be visiting fellows with the Center. International or domestic scholars and advocates are welcome to apply. 

Columbia University undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in working with the Center may apply for research assistant positions for independent study credit, or for work study or other compensation depending on availability. Students at other New York City institutions may also apply for unpaid intern positions.

The director of the center is Professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw.

For more information on working with the Center, or to join our events mailing list, contact intersectionality@law.columbia.edu.

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