The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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"Ain't I A Woman?" and "I Am a Man": Intersectionality’s Travels from Black Feminist Theory to HIV Prevention and Sexuality Research with Black Men

On November 3rd, 2016 the Center for Research on Families welcomed Dr. Lisa Bowleg, Professor of Applied Psychology at The George Washington University, to campus. Dr. Bowleg's talk provided an overview of intersectionality, its Black feminist activist and theoretical roots, and its recent odysseys into social science and behavioral research with understudied populations such as Black heterosexual and gay and bisexual men. Dr. Bowleg argued that focusing on a single identity (e.g., gender) without its intersection with other key social identities (e.g., race, sexual identity/orientation, class) provides a very limited understanding of people’s experiences and outcomes. Dr. Bowleg is a leading scholar of intersectionality, and intersectionality research.  For almost 20 years, her qualitative and mixed methods research has examined the effects of masculinity and social-structural contexts on Black men’s sexual HIV risk behaviors; and Black lesbian, gay, and bisexual people’s experiences with stress and resilience. High-impact journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, Health Psychology, and AIDS and Behavior have published her work.  In 2014, the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Psychology and AIDS awarded her its AIDS Distinguished Leadership Award.