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.

The Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies was established to examine how social structures and related identity categories such as gender, race, and class interact on multiple levels to create social inequality. The first such center of its kind, the Center's 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.