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Intersectionality yes but how? Approaches and conceptualisations

Project: Research

  • Roskilde University
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”My Feminism is intersectional or bullshit” as Flavia Dzodans put it in 2011. With this quote as an overall guideline, this special issue of NORA will address the question that comes next: intersectionality, yes, but how?
When Kimberly Crenshaw in 1989 coined the term ‘intersectionality’, she was drawing on the long legacy of black and women of color’s political activism in the US. Already in 1851 Sojourner Truth famously summed up the positionality of Black women in the US through the question: ‘Ain’t I a woman?’. Crenshaw’s intervention formed part of a growing discontent among activists and academics in the US and the UK. Through a focus on how gender, race, class and sexuality as axes of subordination crosscut each other, intersectionality splintered a feminist subjectivity otherwise powerfully instituted as universal or at least as potentially so. Feminism was first and foremost proven white – and in the wake of this also blindly normative in other ways and in relation to a range of social categories. The ideas that form the backbone of Crenshaw’s conceptualization were (and are still) present in activism and scholarly work without necessarily using the concept itself.
The framework of intersectionality has since the late 1980s become overwhelmingly popular and has moved with increasing speed across societal domains, theoretical paradigms and geographical locations. During these travels, the concept has been adjusted to different academic, theoretical, activist and institutional agendas, and these shifts have become a cause of – often fierce – disagreement. Among the questions posed in these discussions are: Has intersectionality been colonized by corporate interests, thereby leaving its focus on power and subordination behind? Has the concept become politically blunt through the proliferation of categories that may be included in intersectional analysis? And, in particular: is it – and if so, how – legitimate to include majorities in these analyses?
Effective start/end date01/09/201501/05/2020

Research outputs

ID: 129084310