Intersectionalities of difference: Asian women in higher education in the UK

Bhopal, Kalwant (2011) Intersectionalities of difference: Asian women in higher education in the UK At NAME’s 21st Annual International Conference. 02 - 05 Nov 2011.


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This paper will explore issues of intersectionality and ‘race’ with a focus on theorising difference. There is little research which has explored issues of intersectionality in the UK. The research that does exist has examined issues of class and gender (Skeggs, 1997; Reay, et al, 2001) or ‘race’ and gender (Bhopal, 2008; Gillborn and Mirza, 2000; Mirza, 2009; Shain, 2003) but has failed to engage with debates around the intersections of difference particularly in relation to ‘race’, class and gender as interlocking systems of oppression. Discourses around ‘race’, diversity and inclusion have tended to be analysed as disparate issues. ‘Race’ has been compartmentalised (in racial, ethnic or area studies), or has been emphasised as the defining characteristic of identity (in studies of national identity or in some versions of critical race theory) (see Gillborn, 2009; Leonardo, 2004) rather than as one aspect of a complex web of intersections, oppressions and identity formations (Bhopal, forthcoming, 2010; Preston, 2007). In this paper I will attempt to make connections between these disparate issues in order to understand the wider context of the problematisation of ‘race’ and inclusion where ‘race’ is seen as one aspect of personhood (Ladson-Billings, 2006). The paper will draw upon my empirical research with Asian women (British born third generation Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women) in the UK who were studying at one particular university in the South East of England. It will explore how women’s experiences of higher education are affected by their diverse identities which in turn, position them as ‘other’ within the white space of the Academy. It will particularly focus on aspects of class and religion as well as ‘race’ and gender and move towards providing a critical understanding of the ‘other’.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Venue - Dates: NAME’s 21st Annual International Conference, 2011-11-02 - 2011-11-05
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ePrint ID: 200697
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Date Event
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2011 11:57
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 01:25
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