Toward an Intersectional Political Science Pedagogy

Toward an Intersectional Political Science Pedagogy

by Amy Cabrera Rasmussen, California State University, Long Beach

This article highlights the ways in which theoretical and empirical work on intersectionality, combined with relevant existing pedagogical literature, can inspire new ways to think about politics and for political science faculty to creatively enhance student learning. Much like in its research applications, an intersectionality-inspired pedagogy is shown to be appropriate not only in courses on the politics of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality but also in a wide range of political science courses. The article begins by providing a discussion of the treatment of identity, diversity, and inequality in political science pedagogy. Next, it provides an outline of the intersectional research paradigm. Four aspects of an intersectional political science pedagogy are then delineated: focusing on multiple identities, foregrounding of power and processes, transforming courses through inclusion, and employing a normative commitment to equality. The article closes with an examination of the barriers (and solutions) that might affect implementation of such a pedagogy in the discipline, informed by personal teaching experiences and the existing pedagogical literature.

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This Educate-JPSE collaboration brings together articles published in the Journal of Political Science Education that discuss classroom approaches related to teaching about race, racism, social justice and civic action. Our reading list offers a range of materials – from syllabi, reading lists to active learning assignments – that discuss classroom practices through the lens of identity, gender and power relations. It includes a model for professors who are interested in partnering with local community activists to design civically engaged courses, with specific examples covering research and organizing around affordable housing issues. 

The Journal of Political Science Education is an intellectually rigorous, path-breaking, agenda-setting journal that publishes the highest quality scholarship on teaching and pedagogical issues in political science. The journal aims to represent the full range of questions, issues and approaches regarding political science education, including teaching-related issues, methods and techniques, learning/teaching activities and devices, educational assessment in political science, graduate education, and curriculum development.