Baca Zinn, M. 2012. “PHC: Past and Future Innovations.”

Baca Zinn, Maxine. 2012. “Patricia Hill Collins: Past and Future Innovations.” Gender and Society 26 (1): 28-32.

Notes PHC’s impact on sociology of gender, but notes that her work is often taken for granted, as these ideas were not always the way that we understood or analyzed such things. Notes PHC’s impact on the inclusion and analysis of WOC to extend Black Feminist Thought.

Tells of own work in Mexican American communities, emerging contradictions to dominant paradigm’s understanding of subordination and exploitation of WOC. Moving past descriptive work which presented real-life and concrete issues of experience, into a theoretical frame. Lauds Collins’ “Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought” (1986) as this needed framework. This work critiques dominant ways of knowing which marginalized African American women, and noted their epistemes as just as significant to scientific inquiry. Offers a rationale for calling on marginalized knowledge sets and organizations. After BFT, many more than just Black Feminists were using the ideas that PHC offered – other groups of women were adopting these insights and tools for organization.   “These developments were vital as feminists claimed a multiracial space in the academy where we could study difference” (29). Methodological and intersectionally analytical impacts.

Rejection of additive approaches, impacts felt in study of racial inequality, social stratification, and feminist thought. Contributed terms such as outsider within, matrix of domination, interlocking oppressions, controlling images, which are used throughout sociology classes and intersectionality has become an area of study in its own right – thoroughly canonized.

Laments that PHC’s work on family, motherhood, and community childcare is still widely underutilized, particularly in the sociological field of families. Families (units and practices) form scaffolding of social organization, and thus, of privilege and disadvantage. “…family is fundamental in structuring group inequality” (31, see also Collins 1997, 1998a/b, and 2000). But, how does the construction of family covertly support/subvert racial stratification? Sites of socialization, wealth accumulation, mate selection? Use of representation and politics within family research?


Collins, Patricia Hill. 1997. “African American Women and Economic Justice: A Preliminary Analysis of Wealth, Family, and Africa American Social Class.” University of Cincinnati Law Review 65 (3): 825-52.

Collins, Patricia Hill. 1998a. “Intersections of Race, Class, Gender, and Nation: Some Implications for Black Family Studies.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 29 (1): 27-36.

Collins, Patricia Hill. 1998b. “It’s All In the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation.” Hypatia 13 (3): 62-82.

Collins, Patricia Hill. 2000. “Gender, Black Feminism, and Black Political Economy.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 568: 41-53.


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