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Semester and Year Offered: Semester 2 (Winter)
Course Coordinator and Team: Venugopal Maddipati
Email of course coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Intersectionality emerged as a theme in social science and humanities thinking in response to normative conceptions of social justice in identity politics. If, traditionally, race, gender, caste, and class were presented as normative axes along which exclusion and marginalization manifested themselves in society, the intersectional approach towards exclusion and marginalization entailed taking into account intra-group differences. Intersectionality took into account the manner in which exclusion and marginalization were also imbedded within identity categories, specifically in the manner in which specific identities were themselves always already riven and co-instituted by their cross-correspondence with other identity categories. Given how Social Design as a field approaches social inclusion as a way of expanding the domain of service-oriented, systems-oriented and infrastructure-oriented design-thinking, taking an intersectional approach towards recognizing patterns of exclusion becomes vital for the Social Designer. Since Design presents itself as a language of solutions to complex social problems, relying on an intersectional approach enables Social Designers to recognize the complex, layered and interconnected social circumstances which give rise to problems in the first place. Approaching problems parametrically, that is, by viewing how different parameters converge or intersect differently in different circumstances to disempower people, designers can also think of solutions to problems parametrically, by emphasizing the sheer diversity of ways in which people can be empowered.
On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
Brief description of modules/ Main modules:
The course begins with the instructor providing students with a few readymade personas belonging to specific identity categories. For example, a persona would be a site for the intersection between a specific gender identity, a specific occupational group/caste identity, a specific economic identity, a specific race identity, etc. The instructor will subsequently present a social situation or problem in a specific site in the city of Delhi, to the students. Different students will subsequently be encouraged to enact the different personas that have been assigned to them, and respond to the problem or situation. The expectation from such an exercise is that the students, while responding to problems from the vantages of specific personas, will begin to observe how intersecting identity categories can begin to have a bearing on one’s comportment in any given situation.
The course will subsequently, over the course of three to four classroom sessions, explore the theme of intersectionality, through readings of the work of such writers as Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw and Sharmila Rege and Anandhi S. These classes will:
The next Four classes will be devoted to understanding how intersectionality between identity categories assumes different saliencies in rural and urban settings. In this context, the students will be encouraged to
The course will end with the students reflecting on their data, and writing a project summary/report and/or prepare a presentation on A2 size sheets using photographs and other visual aids. This report/presentation will constitute a reflection on how the activity of design must respond to the manner in which disempowerment is a nuanced phenomenon, in which the intersection between identity categories, compounds problems for specific individuals or social groups.
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