Social Theory for Educators

When educators and leaders receive accessible scholarly mentorship on intersectional feminist learning, their capacity to teach on social justice deepens tenfold.

Thanks (in part) to the recent messaging on the far-right against Critical Race Theory (CRT), more and more educators are desiring training in ethnic studies and intersectionality—a concept that is a contribution to CRT from Black feminism in the late 1980s, and Kimberlé Crenshaw specifically.

At Feminism School, all our trainings and courses are rich in ethnic studies and intersectionality scholarship. Intersections of Identity is Core Curriculum within The Mentor-Scholar Program, supporting leaders who are guiding others to deepen analysis and practices.

You will learn invaluable feminist traditions for building coalitions across diverse identities— in which we honor both difference and interconnection—and show up for the love of collective liberation.

The Journey of the Course

  • Learn the original scholarship on intersectionality—as well as the debates within Women's Studies on how to apply the methodology.

  • Support your understanding on intersectionality with texts on identity from diverse lineages—including Black, Chicanx/Latinx, postcolonial, Jewish and Arab feminisms.

  • Gain an in-depth toolkit for teaching on race, gender, sexuality, class, religion, and colonialism in a way that foregrounds how feminist foremothers built coalitions across identities.

  • Understand how to analyze both racism and structural antisemitism through studying how feminist foremothers worked to dismantle all oppression.

  • Experience the learning while being guided in a process that supports creative process and our signature contemplative writing practices.

Why take a feminist course on identity?

Many people now know the term "intersectionality." It is a transformational theory of identity from Black feminism. But what most people don't know is that it is also a theory of power and building coalitions, and it was produced in the context of many diverse feminist lineages on identity, power, and movement work.

Feminist foremothers in the 1970s and 1980s had to create this in-depth knowledge. They were organizing social movements on behalf of "women"—but "women" is one of the most layered, diverse words imaginable. 

There is no one woman's experiences.

There are women of many different experiences: women of cis and trans experience; women who colonize and who are colonized; women who own other people's labor and those whose labor is owned by them; women who benefit from whiteness and women who are targeted by racism; women who are targeted by antisemitism but still benefit from whiteness within the racial hierarchies of colonial histories, etc.

And thus, even as feminist foremothers organized for women's rights, they had to come into rich, spacious understanding of layered identity and difference— in order to practice a feminism of collective liberation.

What are Contemplative Feminist Practices?

Contemplative feminism is an approach that combines the study of feminist texts with somatic and creative practices that unfurl deeper learning and connection to inner life and spirit.

These practices bring you into integration with yourself. Systems of abusive power fragment us. Feminist learning is a process of remembering that brings us into relationship with our own body, spirit, and psyche, as well as the lineages of our ancestors.

We specialize in teaching contemplative writing practices, but for those who learn best in visual or kinesthetic forms, we also encourage you to adopt and adapt the practices for diverse expressions—including painting, drawing, dance, and cartooning.

The Course Curriculum

As a graduate level-course, we encourage participants to have access to JSTOR or other research databases.

  • 17 audio lectures (6.5 hours total, 20–40 minutes each) distill concepts from key texts of intersectional feminist and queer theory. Lectures serve as an expert companion in your reading journey in the course, giving you historical framings and contemporary applications of each text.

  • The lectures support your contemplative encounter of the texts of Adrienne Rich, Ella Shohat, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Jasbir Puar, AnaLouise Keating, Brittney Cooper, Barbara Smith, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Leila Ahmed, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Daniel Boyarin, among others.

  • A 75-page Contemplative Journal offers contemplative writing exercises for the personal identity work in this learning—work that is also creative play. While the course is scholarly, it also values art, ancestral connection and healing, and honing your own creative power and purpose.

FAQ

  • Tell me about all the reading!

    This IS a reading-based, grad-level experience of encountering an inspiring body of work in feminist/queer Black studies, ethnic studies, and Jewish cultural studies histories. When possible the course lectures always link to free resources (such as talks by scholars) in case you cannot access or purchase the books, or in case you need another way to learn the material that fits into the nooks of a busy life. That being said, we teach you contemplative practices to enjoy your reading as a transformational, soul-nourishing encounter with feminist and queer traditions we consider quite sacred.

  • Do I need to be able to access a university research base?

    University library access helps for reading a handful of the articles in this course. That said, it is not absolutely required. JSTOR also has a free service this year to support access to scholarly articles, and you can still get a lot from this course without being able to access the handful of articles behind a university paywall.

  • What is your scholarship policy?

    Sliding scale tuition for self-study curriculum is available for activists, single moms, and historically marginalized institutions. We also barter our classes for skill sets that support our mission at Feminism School! Please note that our sliding scale rates are reserved for those in true financial need (for whom paying for this education would jeopardize access to secure housing or food.) If that is not your situation, but you do not have the funds to cover full tuition up front, talk with us about payment plans instead.

  • How do I sign up?

    This course is offered within The Mentor-Scholar Program, which can be done 1:1 or in a small group. Contact us for our next open enrollment period.

What is it like to learn intersectional feminist scholarship?

  • Ryan Aiello, High School Principal

    "Kimberly's work continues to resonate and impact our institution today-- more than three years after her visit. Her knowledge of the material is surpassed only by her ability to seamlessly connect with faculty and staff of all different experience levels, making the content readily accessible no matter one's background. In turn, the PD experience extends far beyond the course or training itself, as teachers develop a robust toolkit that they can then share within their departments, divisions, and courses. Our school is forever grateful for her invaluable contributions to our continued evolution and growth in the areas of equity and inclusion."

  • Ellen McCormick, High School Religious Studies Teacher

    "I feel invigorated, excited, creative, challenged, grateful, inspired, and truly at home in my career. And when I reflect on why that it is, it is in large part because of you! Your Intersectionality class came at the most important time in my life - a time when the biggest changes of my adult life were upon me... The last two school years I spent learning from and with you about my place in the world, the language to describe my world, and the knowledge I needed to begin to make sense of my surroundings, education/beliefs, and experiences continues to bring me such richness and abundance in my classroom."

  • Amber Johnson, Dean of Students

    "Clarity and connectedness is what I have gained through taking Kimberly’s intersectionality classes. I have spent a good deal of my life piecing together a fragmented history, and relying on my intuition and meditative knowing to guide me. I am so blessed for Kimberly’s intelligent and thoughtful guidance, she applies her teachings with compassion, warmth and honesty, unjudging and transparent…Kimberly is truly in her element. She is more than a teacher, she is family, a friend, a sister."

Our identities are an inheritance, a rooting, a movement, and an emergence.

"We never quite know who we are... because we are always making and re-making ourselves...but we know some of our inheritances." ~ M. Jacquie Alexander

In this course, we look at the ways that identity labels can both help and hinder our explorations of the dynamic multiplicity within our own being. We examine the kinds of rigid stories that are written onto our own flesh by systems and relations of power. We consider the un-languaged stories written into our cells and memories in our ancestral connections. And we ask how our interconnection with one another requires we know ourselves-as-in-becoming-beings.

Along the way, we critique how racial hierarchies, patriarchy, antisemitism, and ethno-nationalisms force us into binaries of identity and seek to rupture our inter-dependent relationships with one another. As we do this deeper, expansive identity work, we come to realize a fuller vision for coalition-based social movements that sees difference within and across identities as a strength, not a hindrance, to collective liberation.

Who would benefit from this learning experience?

This course is for anyone, of all genders, who is in a position of leadership that would be supported by a grounding in feminist studies across many fields. 

It is for those who believe that challenging assumed binaries and either/or thinking helps us move toward a fuller sense of who we are, a better understanding of complex histories, and a greater connection with one another.

The course is for those who want to connect the inner work of integration to the outer work of collective change and healing. The path of that healing takes courage, as we will be tending to the pieces of ourselves sliced, fragmented and fractured by dominant, binary systems.

Explore Our Curriculum