Symposium: The Politics of Identity and Questions of Intersectionality


CAPA’s 10th Annual Symposium: The Politics of Identity and Questions of Intersectionality will be held in conjunction with the 16th Forum on Education Abroad Conference.

“Intersectionality” is not a new idea; the theory (without the name) informs, for example, Willmott and Young’s Family and Kinship in East London (1957). It offers a mechanism for analyzing the ways in which identities are constructed both by our own agency, in the minds of others, and external dynamics.

We are complex, ambiguous people living in complex, ambiguous worlds. Race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and a myriad of other factors impact upon the way we see ourselves and the ways in which others see us. Thus, the exploration of the politics of identity invites inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives from the arts, economics, sociology, technology, science, politics, geography, and so on. The collision of individual and collective identity is of critical significance in education abroad. As students journey into unfamiliar space, they also inevitably journey into their own sense of self; this has important implications for the subjects we teach and how we teach them. Intersectionality might also empower students to understand overt and hidden structures of power and privilege beyond the USA. In the USA, the work of Kimberlé Crenshaw and Judith Butler related intersectionality to African- American female identities and to discussions of gender, feminism and the performance of identity. These perspectives have created a contested political agenda which offers a potential area of debate and analysis.

CAPA has no “official” view of these issues; our objective is to facilitate discussions in “brave space.” Two wise rabbis, Shammai and Hillel the Elder disagreed about almost every topic imaginable. They did not, however, believe that consensus was an obligation. Their discourses always ended with the injunction to let their opinions stand as “disagreements for the sake of Heaven.” In that view, respect for diverse views is a spiritual, moral and intellectual imperative. We hope that their wisdom will inspire these discussions. We, therefore, invite contributions that contest, analyze, critique, describe, or deconstruct the concept and related issues.


The symposium will take place on Wednesday March 25th, 2020 from 1:00 – 4:30 PM at the Sheraton Hotel, in Kansas City. This is immediately before the opening of the Forum conference and takes place at the conference hotel. This is intended to make the event accessible and convenient for attendees although it is open to all colleagues whether or not they are attending the Forum conference. There is no fee for registering.

Proposal Invitation

We also invite proposals from colleagues to address this very broad field of debate. In so doing, we hope to refine the themes of the symposium and focus on those that are of particular concern to our colleagues in the field, in academia, and in the wider community. All contributions are welcome. The theme of the symposium will be further explored in CAPA’s Occasional Paper and all participants will be encouraged to submit essays (publication scheduled for May 2021). If you are interested in speaking at the symposium as a named panelist, please send a short abstract (one page maximum) to Michael Woolf: and/or Anthony Gristwood Proposals are due on December 20.

The CAPA Symposia and Occasional Paper series are part of our efforts to contribute to the theoretical basis of our work and, therefore, to enrich learning, teaching and research in education abroad. The proceedings of these symposia with additional material are published in CAPA’s Occasional Papers series. Themes covered to date include urban studies, cosmopolitanism, nation and memory, war and study abroad, human rights, and civil rights, globalization, and borders, mobility and migration. The subject of the occasional paper in 2020 is Empires of the Mind? (Post)colonialism and Decolonizing Education Abroad.

Event Date and Location

March 25, 2020 @ 1:00 PM

Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center

About CAPA The Global Education Network

CAPA’s Global City locations in Buenos Aires, Dublin, Florence, London, Shanghai, and Sydney, provide vibrant, stimulating, and multicultural environments for students to explore and analyze. Our coursework, internship opportunities, and signature My Global Education cultural activities offer experiences that challenge, excite, and inspire students in diverse and powerful ways.