A decolonial pedagogy for teaching intersectionality


  • Juan Velásquez Atehortúa University of Gothenburg




epistemic disobedience, intersectionality, pragmatic toolkit, curriculum changes, injuries of coloniality


This article discusses a “pragmatic toolkit” for decolonizing a course by intersectionality combining key notions in literature in decolonial education with four components extracted from the works of Orlando Fals-Borda and Paulo Freire by Joao Mota Neto (2018). As a kind of toolkit for decolonial change, the article first combines the role of being a subversive scholar to address “injuries of coloniality” that places the discipline as part of a landscape of power in the context of a gender studies BA-course. Repairing these injuries of coloniality demanded curriculum changes, to restore the disobedient epistemology inherent in the concept of intersectionality. Second, in so doing, the pragmatic toolkit provided a participatory frame for exchanges of knowledge in a classroom composed of multiple identities, which then aimed to promote diversity and difference. Third, this orientation made a frame suitable for searching for other epistemic coordinates, exploring for example politics of emotion to erase barriers toward potential others, and including literature on coalitional politics. And fourth, revisiting the “telluric origins” of feminist research helped the students reinvent power through writing critical reflections that awaked their “interest in social action” to contest racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, transphobia, and speciesism.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Ahmed, S. (2004). The Cultural Politics of Emotion. Edinburgh University Press.

Berggren, C. (2007). Broadening recruitment to higher education through the admission system: gender and class perspectives. Studies in Higher Education, 32(1), 97-116.

Carbin, M., & Edenheim, S. (2013). The intersectional turn in feminist theory: A dream of a common language? European Journal of Women’s Studies, 20(13), 233- 248.

Charles, E. (2019). Decolonizing the Curriculum. Insights, 32(1), 24.

Crenshaw, K. W. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241–1299.

Cudworth, E. (2014). Beyond speciesism: Intersectionality, critical sociology and the human domination of other animals. In N. Taylor & R. Twine (Eds.), The Rise of Critical Animal Studies: from the Margins to the Centre (pp. 19-35). Routledge.

Davis, K. (2008). Intersectionality as buzzword: A sociology of science perspective on what makes a feminist theory successful. Feminist Theory, 9(1), 67-85.

de los Reyes, P., Molina, I., & Mulinari, D. (2003). Inledning. In P. de los Reyes, I. Molina & D. Mulinari, Maktens (o)lika förklädnader - kön, klass & etnicitet i det postkoloniala Sverige. (pp. 11-30). Atlas bokförlag.

de los Reyes, P., & Mulinari, D. (2005). Intersektionalitet - Kritiska reflektioner över (o)jämlikhetens landskap. Liber.

Domínguez, M. (2017). “Se hace puentes al andar”. Decolonial Teacher Education as a Needed Bridge to Culturally Sustaining and Revitalizing Pedagogies. In D. Paris & S. Alim (Eds.), Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies – Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World (pp. 225-246). Teachers College Press, University of Columbia.

Dyers, C., & Antia, B.E. (2019). Multilingual and multimodal mediation in one university module: The people and processes involved. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, 37(1), 62-76.

Fals-Borda, O. (1987). The Application of Participatory Action-Research in Latin America. International Sociology, 2(4), 329-347.

Flores-Kastanis, E., Montoya-Vargas, J., & Suárez, D. (2009). Investigación-Accción Participativa en la Educación Latinoamericana. Revista Mexicana de Investigación Educativa, 14(40), 289-308.

Freire, P. (1973). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Penguin Books.

Gill, H., & White, V. (2013). Decolonial pedagogy through transcultural narrative inquiry in the contact zone. Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry, 5(2), 25-38.

Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575-599.

Harris, J., & Patton, L. (2019). Un/Doing Intersectionality through Higher Education Research. The Journal of Higher Education, 90(3), 347-372.

Hübinette, T., & Mählck, P. (2015). The racial grammar of Swedish higher education and research policy: The limits and conditions of researching race in a color-blind context. In R. Andreassen & K. Vitus (Eds.), Affectivity and race: Studies from Nordic contexts (pp.59-73). Ashgate.

Lugones, M. (2010). Toward a Decolonial Feminism. Hypatia, 25(4), 742-759.

Lykes, B., Lloyd, C., & Nicholson, K. (2018). Participatory and Action Research Within and Beyond the Academy: Contesting Racism through Decolonial Praxis and Teaching “Against the Grain”. American Journal of Community Psychology, 62(3-4), 406-418.

Lykke, N. (2003). Intersektionalitet - ett användbart begrepp för genusforskningen. Kvinnovetsnakpligt tidskrift, 2003(1), 47-55.

Lykke, N. (2005). Nya perspektiv på intersektionalitet. Problem och möjligheter. Kvinnovetenskaplig tidskrift , 2005(2-3), 7-16.

Mansoor, A., & Bano, M. (2019). Decolonial pedagogy and English literary studies: problematics in a Pakistani context, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2019.1645589

May, V. (2015). Pursuing intersectionality, unsettling dominant imaginaries. Routledge

McCall, L. (2005). The complexity of intersectionality. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30(31), 1771–1800.

Méndez, M. J. (2018). “The River Told Me”: Rethinking Intersectionality from the World of Berta Cáceres. Capitalism Nature Socialism, 29(1), 7-24.

Mignolo, W. (2009). Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and Decolonial Freedom. Theory, Culture & Society, 26(7-8), 159-181.

Mota Neto, J. C. (2018, Julho 23). Por uma Pedagogia Decolonial na América Latina: Convergências entre a Educação Popular e a Investigação- Ação Participativa. Arquivos analíticos de políticas educativas, 26(84), 1-17.

Mota Neto, J. C. (2019). Roots of popular education in Latin America: contributions for a genealogy of decolonial pedagogical thinking. Educar em Revista, 35(78), 207-223.

Silva, J., & The Students for Diversity Now (2018). #WEWANTSPACE: Developing Student Activism Through a Decolonial Pedagogy. American Journal of Community Sociology, 62(3-4), 374–384.

Tejada, C., & Espinoza, M. (2003). Toward a decolonizing pedagogy: Social justice reconsidered. Educational Foundations and Social Studies Faculty Publications.

Truesdell, N., Carr, J., & Orr, C. (2017), The Role of Combahee in Anti-Diversity Work. Souls, 19(3), pp. 359-376.

Vergès, F. (2019). Decolonial Feminist Teaching - What is the space of decolonial feminist teaching? In S. Jong, R. Icaza, & O. Rutazibwa, Decolonization and Feminisms in Global Teaching and Learning (pp. 91-102). New York: Routledge.

White, A. M., Wright-Soika, M., & Russell, M. S. (2007). Epistolary Connections: Letters as Pedagogical Tools in the Introductory Women's Studies Course. Feminist Teacher, 17(3), pp. 204-224.

Yuval Davis, N. (2005). Nya perspektiv på intersektionalitet. Problem och möjligheter. Kvinnovetenskaplig tidskrift, 2005(2-3), pp. 7-16.




How to Cite

Velásquez Atehortúa, J. (2020). A decolonial pedagogy for teaching intersectionality. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 4(1), 156–171. https://doi.org/10.7577/njcie.3555