Intersectionality is What We Think and Do

“Intersectionality” describes the field of study that examines the interlocking dynamics of how race, gender, sexuality and (dis)ability, among other critical entities, intersect each other. In fact, Transform was formed as a college for intersectional inquiry. We aim to examine shifting sexualities, changing genders, dynamic immigrations and emergent struggles against all racist and ableist beliefs.

Everything on fire in our world, we study, and everything everyone is currently debating, we discuss with passion and cool examination. We particularly honor the Black and Indigenous women who founded and coined the concept of intersectionality based on the complex, multiple conditions of their lived experiences.

Learn about the Mellon supported activities by visiting the Mellon Research Directory

Meet the TRIC Research Fellows and Initiatives

In 2021, the School for Cultural and Social Transformation received a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create an intersectional studies collective as part of a national initiative. The University of Utah is one of six institutions in the national network.

      • Cydney Caradonna, Ph.D. Student, Education, Leadership and Policy, University of Utah
      • Jaimie D. Crumley, Assistant Professor, Gender Studies & Ethnic Studies, University of Utah
      • Lien Fan Shen, Professor, Film and Media Arts, University of Utah
      • Lezlie Frye, Assistant Professor, Gender Studies and Disability Studies, University of Utah
      • Shobha Hamal Gurung, Professor, Sociology and Women and Gender Studies, Southern Utah University
      • Roger Renteria, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology, University of Utah
      • Crystal Rudds, Assistant Professor, English, University of Utah
      • Lisa Taylor-Swanson, Assistant Professor, Nursing, University of Utah
      • Kinny Torre, Ph.D. Student, Communication, University of Utah
      • Tashelle Wright, Health Equity Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Family & Preventative Medicine, University of Utah, School of Medicine
  • We launched our collective plans by creating an in-state cohort of Intersectional Pedagogy Fellows. With Mellon funds, and in special partnership with Utah State University’s Center for Intersectional Gender Studies and Research, we have gathered 14 scholar-teachers who together represent Utah State University, Weber State University, Salt Lake Community College, and the University of Utah.

    From the University of Utah:

      • Alborz Ghandehari: Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies (class and gender dynamics within contemporary Iranian popular struggles and their international solidarities)
      • Lisa Diamond: Professor of Gender Studies and Psychology (development and expression of sexual and gender diversity over the life course; biological mechanisms through which sexual and gender stigma influence physical and mental health; couple and family relationships of sexually-diverse and gender-diverse individuals)
      • José Francisco Gutiérrez: Assistant Professor of Education, Culture and Society (critical approaches to the study of mathematics; cognition and development; relational equity and mathematics learning)
      • Crystal Rudds: Assistant Professor of English (African American literature; Black feminism; urban cultural studies; housing and geography)
      • Ashley Cordes: Assistant Professor of Communication (Indigenous studies; digital media; critical/cultural studies; environmental storytelling)
      • Ramón Barthelemy: Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy (equity and inclusion in physics and astronomy; LGBT persistence in physics; student motivation in STEM)

    From Utah State University:

      • Mario Suárez : Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies (queer/trans theory; intersections of race, gender identity, sexuality and class in K-12 STEM spaces and curricula
      • Adena Rivera-Dundas: Assistant Professor of English (Black feminist epistemologies; personal narrative; affect studies)
      • Cree Taylor: Lecturer in English (critical race theory; Black feminist thought; pedagogies of care)
      • Rachel Wishkoski : USU Libraries (intersectional literacy pedagogy; qualitative methods)
      • Beth Buyserie : Director of Composition and Assistant Professor of English (critical pedagogies; intersections of language, knowledge and power; queer theory and critical race theory)
      • Rachel Turner : Assistant Professor, School of Teacher Education and Leadership (social studies in the classroom; narrative inquiry; qualitative methods)

    From Weber State University:

      • Alex Collopy, PhD: Educational anthropologist and scholar of disability studies in early childhood education

    From Salt Lake Community College:

      • Bernice Olivas: Assistant Professor of English, Linguistics & Writing Studies (intersection between writing and marginalization; recruitment, retention, and mentoring of first-generation students)

    Intersectional pedagogy co-facilitators:

      • Kilo Zamora: Instructor (Lecturer) of Gender Studies at the U and Social Change Facilitator (gender justice politics; community organizing; queering identities in nature; and faculty advisor for the internship program)
      • Christy Glass: Professor of Sociology at USU, Interim Director of the Center for Intersectional Gender Studies and Research (workplace justice, social inequality, and gender and sexuality)
      • Kathryn Bond Stockton: Distinguished Professor of English at the U, Dean of the School for Cultural and Social Transformation (queer theory/queer of color critique; theories of race and racialized gender; twentieth-century and contemporary literature and film)

Also Sisters

Also Sisters seek to develop strategies and collect useful documentation to help media creators, particularly, filmmakers, make fictional work where intersectionality is robust and prevents biases. To that end, our group will be practice centered, and will gain a deeper understanding of intersectionality by developing a research project, namely a screenplay. As practitioners, researchers, and educators we find extreme value in the power of research to inform teaching and vice versa, and because of that we are committed to involve students in the process of making this film.

Black Studies in Ballet Collective

The overall goal of the Black Studies in Ballet Collective Research Project will be to foster intersectional inquiry through research and dialogue among BIPOC academics who resource ongoing scholarship in the field, as well as have personal histories as ballet dancers and related artistic fields.

Disability Studies

Disability Studies proposes, as its Intersectional Signature Initiative in Fall 2023, to conduct an exchange of ideas amongst scholars working on intersectional critical disability studies, particularly intersectional studies of disability and race/ethnicity, at two institutions: the University of Utah and the University of Texas-Austin.

Gender-Based Violence Consortium

The Gender-Based Violence Consortium’s vision is to increase public recognition of and deepen public knowledge about this type of violence through research innovation and collaboration, creation of research communities, and enhanced educational efforts. Therefore, the University of Utah’s Gender-Based Violence Consortium brings together an interdisciplinary team of scholars representing multiple colleges across campus at the University of Utah. The Gender-Based Violence Consortium is an interprofessional collaboration, a campus scholarly network that embodies an academic commitment to sharing knowledge, supporting long-term collaborations through research hubs, creating programming, sharing teaching, and responding to gender-based violence in Utah. The GBVC is collaborating with artist Lilian Agar, Utah Domestic Violence Consortium and local organizations to organize UnStoppable: Art & Play.


Intersectional Perspectives on the History of the Transcontinental Railroad. Intersections will center voices and perspectives of contemporary artists/thinkers/activists from communities that have historically been left out in the national narrative of the railway. By encouraging intersectional inquiry and dialogue, Intersections will provide new understanding of the history of our railroads and its role in shaping this nation. One central component of this research is an opportunity for artists, thinkers, and activists to travel together by train, visiting towns and cities built by the railway. This experience will be documented and will inform an Idea Exchange meeting and the Digital document that I produce as part of my signature initiative.


Utah Prison Education Project

The Utah Prison Education Project was launched in 2017, following a yearlong Praxis Lab sponsored by the University of Utah Honors College, titled “Education, Incarceration, and Justice.” Our mission is to assist incarcerated students and non-incarcerated volunteers to live lives of impact, both in prison and post-incarceration, by fostering academic excellence, leadership, and civic engagement. Committed to social transformation, UPEP advances educational equity through on-site higher education at the Utah State Prison, empirical research, and advocacy.

American Indian Women Scholars

The AIWS program has helped foster future Native leaders dedicated to serving their communities. By uplifting Native women’s legacies and positive impacts of Native-led initiatives, we affirm Native identities and futures, while advancing belonging and engagement. The collective creates spaces for indigenous women to learn, grow, launch, and connect. With a strong network and advocating for issues that matter, the collective is catalyzing transformative change in our communities.