Each of the three articles provides a useful way to examine gender, race, and class and their relationships to each other. However, they also each highlight the difficulty in finding a "unified theory" and the ways in which intersectionality may convolute and further fragment theories of gender, class, and race relations. In many ways, the piece by Pascoe creates the kind of dichotomy that Collins warns against by emphasizing the shift from the biological to the cultural. Pascoe examines shifts in racial thinking through historical judicial cases and, in creating a biological-cultural dichotomy, the economic and political shifts occurring in the United States during that time are almost entirely absent from her analysis (most notably, the lack of a mention of the civil rights movement). Sacks demonstrates how the political and economic conditions created under capitalism, which are largely absent from Pascoe's argument, can and do create and perpetuate gender, race, and class identity. Through her explanation of how second-wave socialist feminists root their theories in a gendered division of waged and unwaged labor, she more effectively speaks to the notion of culturally based theories of social stratification than Pascoe. Although I find Sacks' article extremely appealing academically, Liu's article, for me, is a more holistic approach to gender, race and class analysis than either Sacks or Pascoe. Liu asks us not to just understand conditions and discourses that created subjugation, or even, as Collins suggests, to empathize with others, but to understand how our personal experiences inform our own beliefs about ourselves and (those elusive) "others."Like Sacks', Liu's article is extremely strong academically, but the personal narrative approach invites all of us to contribute to the discussion of gender, race, and class relations. In her discussion of personal conflict with some of these issues, Liu makes a short but profound statement which informs the notion of rectifying the personal and the academic ("public") for a holistic vision of gender, race, and class studies: "I have lived with the contradictions of being simultaneously and insider and an outsider all of my life." The different emphasis each of these authors takes are all valid ways of examining gender, race, and class identities, which is why I feel the pursuit of a unified theory is not only a nearly impossible task, but an individual exercise.
By the nature of geography, my area of study, intersectionality is a necessity, since almost any subject matter can (and is) studied spatially. Everything from economics to biology is studied geographically. However, as with many fields which use humans as their "subject matter" (so, basically any social science), the personal is often left behind, which is why I think we see such compartmentalized studies without the kind of unity the authors we've read thus far are trying to establish. It is something that has frustrated me over the years and something that may reflect exactly some of the issues we will cover in this course (the dichotomy of the "rational" and the "emotional" and their masculine/feminine associations, as well as the fact that academia has largely been developed through patriarchal institutions, etc.).