Engaging Students of Intersectionality Through Sports Media: Using Women’s Tennis to Teach the Matrix of Domination


  • Kristi Tredway St. Mary's College of Maryland


Gender, Sexuality, Race


Intersectionality is a particular knowledge project that facilitates our understanding of the lived experiences of those who are affected by race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, and other identities, andhow social inequalities are organized, operate, and can be challenged in the social world. There are many scholars focused on analyzing multiple identity markers; however, few properly engage with the equally important facet of intersectionality, which is how power structures our understanding of particular identity markers, as well as how power is different across various sites. The lesson plan outlined here offers a focused look at Patricia Hill Collins’ “matrix of domination” (Collins 2000; 2009) as the explanatory model for seeing and understanding the various levels of power which operate in our society. Injustices occur because intersectional identities exist in and through four domains of power: structural, hegemonic or cultural, disciplinary, and interpersonal. These four domains of power, known as the matrix of domination, show how “intersecting oppressions are actually organized” (Collins 2000, 18). Using examples from women’s sports has proven to be effective as explanatory examples as well as increasing student engagement with the sometimes dense theoretical concepts.

Keywords: intersectionality; matrix of domination; power; tennis; sport

Author Biography

Kristi Tredway, St. Mary's College of Maryland

Kristi Tredway, PhD, is a scholar of intersectionality, the media, and women's sport.