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Intersectionality & Capitalism Analysis.

 Intersectionality & Capitalism Analysis.


Essay #1 – Intersectionality

Intersectionality: An In-depth Theoretical Overview

Intersectionality, a concept rooted in feminist and critical race theories, provides a profound framework for understanding the complexities of privilege and oppression in society. This essay explores the origins of intersectionality, its contributions to comprehending multiple forms of inequality on individual and systemic levels, and how it differs from singular conceptions of inequality. Drawing upon various sources, including lectures and articles by prominent scholars, this essay delves into the theoretical underpinnings of intersectionality.

Intersectionality emerged as a theoretical framework in the late 20th century, with Kimberlé Crenshaw’s pivotal work on the subject gaining recognition. Crenshaw argued that traditional feminist and antiracist perspectives often overlooked the experiences of Black women who faced simultaneous gender and racial discrimination. This intersectional approach highlights that individuals do not experience oppression in isolation but as an intricate interplay of multiple identities such as race, gender, class, sexuality, and more.

One of the key contributions of intersectionality is its ability to illuminate the ways privilege and oppression manifest both individually and systemically. Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge, in their work “Intersectionality,” emphasize how it allows us to analyze power structures and hierarchies from a multidimensional perspective. They contend that intersectionality helps us recognize the interlocking systems of domination that affect individuals differently depending on their intersecting identities. For instance, a Black woman may face distinct challenges compared to a white woman or a Black man due to her unique position at the intersection of race and gender.

The Combahee River Collective, a Black feminist organization, highlighted the significance of intersectionality in their 1977 statement. They argued that an intersectional approach was crucial for understanding the experiences of Black women who are oppressed by both white feminists’ neglect and Black men’s sexism. This historical perspective underscores that intersectionality has long been a vital tool for marginalized groups to articulate their specific struggles.

Weber’s concept of “social closure” adds another dimension to our understanding of intersectionality. He explains how certain groups, based on their social characteristics, create barriers to protect their privileges. Intersectionality helps us analyze how these closures affect individuals at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities. For instance, a queer person of color may face exclusion not only due to their sexual orientation but also because of their race, resulting in a unique experience of discrimination.

Furthermore, intersectionality differs significantly from singular conceptions of inequality. Traditional approaches often treat various forms of oppression as separate and fail to recognize their interconnectedness. In contrast, intersectionality provides a more holistic perspective. Dill and Zambrana, in their work on “Intersectionality and Inequality,” argue that singular conceptions tend to oversimplify complex social dynamics. They suggest that viewing oppression as a single-axis phenomenon overlooks the nuances and intersections that shape people’s experiences.

Ferber’s work on “In Search of the Real: The Origins and Originality of Intersectionality” reinforces the idea that intersectionality challenges singular conceptions by highlighting the historical roots of this framework. Ferber contends that intersectionality has deep historical roots in the struggles of marginalized communities and offers a comprehensive framework for understanding their experiences.

In conclusion, intersectionality provides a powerful theoretical lens for understanding the intricate ways in which privilege and oppression operate in society. It originated as a response to the limitations of singular conceptions of inequality and has since evolved into a vital tool for analyzing both individual experiences and systemic structures of power. By drawing upon various sources and perspectives, this essay has shed light on the origins, applications, and significance of intersectionality in contemporary discourse.

Essay #2 – Capitalism & Labor Exploitation

Capitalism & Labor Exploitation: A Theoretical Exploration

This essay delves into the theoretical aspects of how race and gender intersect with capitalist exploitation. It examines the historical racialization and gendering of capitalism, the differential treatment of workers within a capitalist system, and the ways in which capitalism relies on racism and sexism to perpetuate divisions among workers.

The development of capitalism has been deeply racialized and gendered throughout history. Acker’s work on “Class, Gender, and the Relations of Distribution” highlights that capitalism’s evolution has often been marked by the exploitation of women’s labor, which has been devalued and relegated to the private sphere. Similarly, Bonacich’s concept of the “split labor market” reveals how capitalism has exploited racial divisions to create a stratified workforce. Capitalism, in its historical trajectory, has relied on both gender and race as tools of exploitation, thus creating hierarchies within the labor force.

In both past and present times, workers are treated differently within a capitalist system based on their gender and race. Alimahomed and Wilson’s article, “Racism, the City, and the State,” examines how capitalist urban development disproportionately impacts communities of color, resulting in economic marginalization and exploitation. Sullivan et al., in “Race, Urban Poverty, and Public Policy,” further elucidate how racialized capitalism leads to unequal access to resources and opportunities, perpetuating cycles of poverty and exploitation among people of color.

Furthermore, Glenn’s work on “From Servitude to Service Work” explores how capitalism has transitioned from directly exploiting the labor of enslaved Black people to exploiting the labor of predominantly female service workers in the present era. This transition highlights the adaptability of capitalism in finding new avenues for exploitation while maintaining hierarchies based on race and gender.

Crittenden’s article on “Gender and Capitalism: A Gender System Approach” adds to our understanding of how capitalism and patriarchy intersect. She argues that capitalism perpetuates gender roles that reinforce the subordination of women, particularly in low-wage, precarious jobs. This intersection of capitalism and patriarchy results in the exploitation of women’s labor and the maintenance of gendered inequalities within the workforce.

Capitalism not only exploits race and gender but also relies on racism and sexism to divide white people from people of color. The concept of the “reserve army of labor,” as discussed by various scholars, including Marx, implies that capitalism benefits from a surplus of available labor. Racism and sexism play a significant role in creating and maintaining this reserve army. Racial divisions within the working class, as analyzed by Bonacich, and gendered exploitation, as highlighted by Acker, contribute to the fragmentation of labor solidarity, making it challenging for workers to unite against capitalist exploitation.

In conclusion, the intersection of race, gender, and capitalism is a complex and deeply rooted phenomenon. Capitalism has historically been racialized and gendered, resulting in the differential treatment of workers based on their identities. Moreover, capitalism perpetuates divisions among workers by relying on racism and sexism, hindering collective efforts to address labor exploitation. By drawing upon various scholarly works, this essay has provided a theoretical overview of how these intersecting forces shape the capitalist system and its impact on workers.

 Intersectionality & Capitalism Analysis.






This midterm exam consists of TWO 700 word essays. You must answer and complete both essays. Your essays should contain a clear thesis statement (you must italicize it), a body, and conclusion. You should also paraphrase and cite all references in-text using the ASA style guide.pdf. These are theoretical essays and are NOT opinion pieces. Your essay should be a sophisticated and in-depth analysis of the topics below. Your essays should be uploaded to dropbox in ONE word file in one of the following formats: .doc, .docx, or .pdf

Essay #1 – Intersectionality

In this essay, you should provide an in-depth theoretical overview of intersectionality. First, explore the origins of intersectionality and interrogate how it helps us understand the multiple ways in which privilege and oppression manifest in society on both individual and systemic levels. How does an intersectional approach differ than singular conceptions of inequality?

Draw upon at least one lecture video/activity and three of the following articles in your essay to support your claims (Collins and Bilge, Combahee River Collective, Weber, Crenshaw, Dill and Zambrana, and Ferber).

Essay #2 – Capitalism & Labor Exploitation

In this essay, you should provide an in-depth theoretical overview of the ways in which race and gender intersect with capitalist exploitation. How was the development of capitalism racialized and gendered in both past and present times? How are workers treated differently in a capitalist system? How does capitalism rely on racism/sexism to divide white people from people of color?

Draw upon at least one lecture video/activity and three of the following articles to support your claims (Acker, Bonacich, Alimahomed, & Wilson, Glenn, Sullivan et. al, and Crittenden.


Video: Labor and Capitalism Lecture by Dr. Sabrina Alimahomed

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