Bio: Dr. Billie Gastic Rosado is an Associate Dean at NYU SPS and leads the Center for Applied Liberal Arts, English Language Institute, and the Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies. Dr. Gastic Rosado also serves as co-chair of the NYU SPS Inclusion, Diversity, Belonging, Equity and Accessibility (IDBEA) committee. She also currently serves on the boards of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center and Connecticut Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
Her research focuses on the transformative power of education.
1. What is your understanding of intersectionality (you could say when you first encountered the term as a way to get started)?
BGR: I have experienced the effects of intersectionality during my life but only learned how to describe what I was feeling when I learned about this area of scholarship in graduate school. At its core, intersectionality reminds us that social identities are not additive, but that they come together to influence our experience of the world and how we are treated by its systems, institutions, and other people. For example, as a Latinx woman, my experiences are shaped by being Latinx and being a woman, but my experience of both is shaped by the other: my experience of being Latinx is influenced by my being a woman; my being a woman is influenced by being Latinx.
2. Some people delve deeply into the history and theory of intersectionality, others into the practice, and many incorporate both theory and practice--where do you fall along this spectrum and how have you incorporated intersectionality into your scholarship, teaching, and/or industry experience?
BGR: In my research on schools, I incorporate an intersectionality-informed perspective when I consider the factors that put students at risk of harm at school and the risk of being caught up in the school-to-prison pipeline. Here, the intersections of race, ethnicity, English Language Learner status, sexual/gender identity and expression, and socioeconomic status all come together to shape a young person's experience of, and in, school.
3. Where do you see intersectionality applied successfully in your field?
BGR: I teach the Introduction to Sociology in the Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies and it is a course where many students are becoming accustomed to theory and the idea that personal identities are also social ones. It is a chance for students to reflect on their multitude of identities and begin to contend with the tensions and complexities that arise from them.
4. Where do you see that it is lacking and how could using the lens of intersectionality make a difference?
BGR: Intersectionality can help advance conversations about social privilege and help provide a language to have a constructive dialogue.
5. What words of advice do you have for faculty who are new to the concept of intersectionality?
BGR: I recommend that they read about it and take the time to consider how their own lived experience can help them understand and internalize the framework as a new way of seeing the world and asking new questions about it. There are so many social problems that persist in part because we are thinking about them in the same outdated ways that never quite fit well in the first place. As scholars and learners, we should remain open to taking different points of view and being receptive to the insights that are derived from that practice.