Grounded in black feminist scholarship and activism (e.g., Collins, 1990; Combahee River Collective, 1977; hooks, 1984) and formally coined in 1989, by black legal scholar Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, intersectionality has been used across a significant number of disciplines. The key to interrogating systems of inequity and inequality is an understanding that social relationships are intersectional, meaning that the multiple dimensions involved in inequality are complex, overlapping, and intertwined with existing structural power arrangements. By applying an intersectional lens to explore social conditions, such as poverty, that shape or contextualize lived experiences, scholars from multiple disciplines contribute to developing and placing new knowledge into action by deconstructing old myths and recommending solution-driven policy changes. Generally speaking, intersectionality is an analytic strategy that is characterized by the following assumptions:

Using this Database

The Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity (CRGE) launched the Intersectional Research Database in 2005 as the only online searchable compilation of research that examines patterns of inequality using intersections of power relations, namely race, ethnicity, class, and gender. This database provides a rich collection of bibliographical resources on interdisciplinary, intersectional empirical literature. The database contains scholarship using a large number of methods that examines the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, and other dimensions of inequality. The Intersectional Research Database is a free, online service to scholars committed to superior quality interdisciplinary work on how intersections of difference construct and shape everyday life. Users can search, narrow entries by topic, or browse all entries. Each entry contains a citation of a book or article and an annotation written by the CRGE research team.

Each entry in the database is tagged with topic keywords:

Health/Mental Health/Well-Being:

This topic examines issues of physical or mental health inequities and the ways in which social positions affect overall well-being, access to care, and stress.

P-12 Education:

This research relates to educational environments and outcomes of pre-school through high school aged children as they relate to issues of access, discrimination, mentoring, and marginalization.

Higher Education

This research examines the lack of inclusivity and diversity in higher education environments. This topic includes issues faced by administrators, faculty, scholars, and students in post-secondary education.


This topic includes issues of workplace environments and the ways in which social positions affect career choices, opportunities, and advancement.

Violence and Power

This research examines physical and symbolic violence or abuse as a means of reinforcing power inequalities.

Theorizing Intersectionality

This area includes research that advances the understanding and application of intersectionality by creating and extending intersectional theories and paradigms and applying this to current social concerns.


This research deals with issues of childhood, parenting, marriage, and family support networks as they relate to various dimensions of inequality.


This research relates to spiritual beliefs and practices, organized religions, and the ways in which these are incorporated into identities that intersect with other social positions.


This topic pertains to sexual identities, eroticism, gender roles, and issues of marginalization and discrimination.


This research focuses more specifically on sexual minority populations, connecting to a body of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgendered, and Queer intersectional literature.


This research examines socioeconomic structures, financial aid, welfare programs, and social stratification as they connect to other dimensions of inequality.

Colorism/Racial-Ethnic Stratification/Immigration

This topic uses critical race theory and understandings of the formation and consequences of racial and ethnic identities. This research includes minority populations and issues of migration and citizenship.

Criminal Justice

This research includes literature on the unequal ways in which populations are discriminated against through the criminal justice system. The literature examines crime, policing, incarceration, probation, and the criminal justice pipeline.


This topic relates to issues of disability, inclusion, and advocacy as they relate to other dimensions of inequality.

Please take some time to explore the database, and visit often, as the amount of material it contains is continually expanding. We welcome your comments and feedback, as the database continues to grow.


Since this database is interdisciplinary, it is also fitting that the bibliographical resources and subsequent annotations are provided by a community of interdisciplinary scholars in social sciences, arts, and humanities. The Intersectional Research Database is the result of the dedicated hard work of both graduate students and faculty since its inception in 2005. CRGE gratefully acknowledges the exemplary work of these emerging student scholars:

Clare Jen Keeley McGill Bianca Laureano Angel Miles Melva Coles
Laura A. Logie Manouchka Poinson Tanesha Leathers Patrick Grzanka Alyssa Hill
Maren Cummings Lynette Boswell Tamyka Morant Maria Velazquez
Anaya McMurray Vanessa Lopes Ana Perez Nikki Stewart