Literature Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

Provide a critical analysis of the article "The Intersectionality Wars" written by Jane Coaston in 2019.

In "The Intersectionality Wars," Jane Coaston explains the history of Kimberlé Crenshaw’s term “intersectionality” and how it went viral and led to heated debates. Coaston focuses mainly on Crenshaw’s perspectives, giving her a platform to clarify her original intentions. This format allows Coaston to present all sides of the debate while maintaining an objective tone. She also asks rhetorical questions that prompt readers to reflect on intersectionality’s significance and the complicated ramifications of ideas going viral in today’s time.

Expert Answers info

Quinn Abbate eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseProfessional Tutor, Teaching Assistant

bookB.A. from Fordham University

calendarEducator since 2020

write593 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

In “The Intersectionality Wars,” Jane Coaston explains how Kimberlé Crenshaw’s concept called intersectionality went viral, and how along the way the definition and applications of the term changed. In deconstructing the nuances of this history, Coaston shows readers how the sudden widespread use of a politicized term or concept has the potential to actually lead those who use the term further from its original meaning.

Coaston met with Crenshaw to understand what the intended definition of the term intersectionality was and to focus on clearly getting Crenshaw’s point of view across. Coaston also describes the way that the term intersectionality has been adopted by different factions of society, with a particular focus on how it’s been misunderstood and therefore criticized. Although the story gets heated at times, Coaston discusses the debate about intersectionality with accessible objective language and is careful not to take too critical a tone when discussing different points of view.

In the end, Coaston asks rhetorical questions to prompt the reader to reflect on the significance of the intersectionality debate. For example, consider how she asks, “Who should be responsible for addressing racism, anyway?” These questions help readers apply the specific details of the story to issues that impact their lives. It is also interesting to note that while Coaston's focus is the intersectionality debate, her writing also makes the reader reflect on the notion of ideas going “viral” and the positive and negative effects that can have on everyone’s lives.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial