The very title of this landmark essay is metaphorical. Crenshaw is not, of course, a cartographer, or someone who makes maps. She is a legal scholar. But what she is doing in this essay is, like an explorer mapping unknown lands, describing the often neglected or unexplored experiences of women of color. These women of color are on the margins because they are not at the center of people’s minds or political goals in America. To map these margins means to bring their experience into the center of political analysis in order to provide policies and program that can respond to their needs and rights.
Dimensions of Identity (Metaphor)
In discussing intersectionality as the meeting place of multiple identities, Crenshaw often talks about identity as a dimension. This spatial metaphor helps us better understand how identity is understood in the article. In geometry, dimensions are like the different sides of an object. A cube, for instance, has a length, a width, and a height, and these are its different dimensions. A person, too, can have different dimensions, like gender, race, and class. Like in a cube, these dimensions cannot be separated, but develop meaning by being part of the same person. Intersectionality tries to understand all the dimensions of a person at the same time, rather than separating them off into different analyses.
Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color is a great
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Study Guide for Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color
Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color study guide contains a biography of Kimberle Crenshaw, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.