Contemporary US Social Movements

Intersectionality is an important word in contemporary US social movements, including the labor movement. The word was coined in 1989 by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe how social categories like race, class, gender, and sexuality ‘intersect’ and overlap at the individual level to affect people’s lives. In this class, we have explored the intersection of class and various other categories in historical contexts. For this paper, you should reflect on what we’ve read and discussed about class and its intersection with race, gender, and sexuality in historical contexts. Then, think about intersectionality in the present moment.

How do you see class intersecting with race, gender, and sexuality in the world around you? You might want to focus on what you are observing during the COVID crisis. In general, have the experiences of white working-class people differed from those of black or Latinx working-class people? Has gender played a role in shaping the experience of working-class people during COVID? What about ethnicity? Immigration status?  What, if any, kind of organizing work is being done around these overlapping categories? For example, are there working-class movements right now that are being led by members of a particular racial or gender or ethnic group?  If so, what do these movements look like? What are their goals? How do these goals reflect the overlapping social categories of the people who are advocating for them? But you don’t have to focus on COVID. For more details visit

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You might want to look at working-class activism right before COVID (teacher strikes, for example) or activism that is not explicitly inspired by  COVID (the Teamster strike in the Bronx or the Amazon organizing drive in Bessemer, Alabama). Whatever, you choose as your focus, be clear, cite specific examples from the present (you will have to do a little research here – a Google search should take you where you want to go), and cite assigned readings and etc. wherever possible.


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