Patricia hill collins in conversation

On Wednesday, March 20, UCD Women’s Studies hosts renowned sociologist, Prof. Hill Collins for a  public lecture entitled ‘Where do we go from here? Intersectionality and Social Justice’. Prof. Hill Collins specialises in critical race theory and feminist theory, and is perhaps best known for her work on intersectionality, that is, the notion that people are often subject to multiple and mutually reinforcing disadvantages based on gender, race, or class, for instance. Below, Prof. Hill Collins discusses some of the key themes of her work.

CF: You have spent many years as an educator, scholar and activist exploring issues of social justice and inequality. How would you describe the relationship between grass-roots activism outside of the academy and change-making within academia?

PHC: I just published a book titled On Intellectual Activism where I take up these themes in depth. In a nutshell, the ties linking grassroots activism and the academy were much closer during periods of social movement activism than they are now. Universities are increasingly run like businesses, and do not see themselves in the business of addressing social justice themes, unless those themes can be recast in light of a particular university’s business model. This creates new challenges for social justice activists both inside and outside universities. I address these themes in my book On Intellectual Activism, especially in the Introduction where I make a distinction between speaking the truth to power and speaking the truth to people. Both forms of truth telling can occur both inside and outside the academy.

Originally published by on 19th March 2013. Read the full interview here