Inaugural Mellon Summer Institute for Intersectional Studies

Six universities in the United States are being funded by the Mellon Foundation for the next three years to help build a national network for Intersectional Studies. These universities—New York University, University of Southern California, Georgia State University, University of Virginia, University of Illinois, and the University of Utah—will now gather as each brings a small team of scholars to start this conversation and launch this initiative. The inaugural Mellon Summer Institute for Intersectional Studies will be held on June 7-10, 2022 and will specifically be hosted by the School for Cultural and Social Transformation (created as “a college for intersectional inquiry” in 2016) at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Under the banner of “Intersectional Collectives and Ecologies of Place,” this first Institute will allow each team to present key features of its proposed plan and give a detailed sense of institutional/local/regional contexts that pertain to the building of a national network. “Intersectionality” names the vanguard approach to examining the interlocking dynamics of how race, gender, sexuality, and (dis)ability, among other critical entities, intersect each other.  Attentive to the lineage of intersectionality as lived reality and critical concept—with its roots in Black feminist activism and its coinage as a term by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989—teams at the Institute will broadly explore its ongoing influence and points of debate, while specifically forging praxis-centered strategies that aim to answer: where, when, and how are we doing this concept? How are we teaching it? How are we preparing to make change through it? How can we honor its genealogical emergence via Black feminisms and its new extensions, particularly through community connections? Nestled at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, in a valley of rich Indigenous heritage, still a vital crossroads for rural and urban Native people, along with populations of diverse demographics, a series of thought-and-action exchanges will seek to advance these urgent matters.

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