To exist is to resist: Reclaiming Intersectionality
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Marcus, G. (2017) To exist is to resist: Reclaiming Intersectionality. In: Black Feminism, Womanism and the Politics of Women of Colour in Europe, Binnenpret, Amsterdam, 7th October 2017.
In this paper, I explore how intersectionality as a theoretical and analytical framework has been used and abused since it was first formally introduced as a concept (Crenshaw, 1989, 1991). Intersectionality challenges mainstream feminism by displacing essentialised notions of women and the universalisation of white middle class women’s experiences. It centres the experiences of women of colour, and Black women in feminist theory and emancipatory practice. Intersectionality is also a political challenge to white supremacy in feminist politics and feminist social science (Mirza, 2009; Bilge, 2014). However, today the term is often misappropriated, its function misused, and its history misrepresented, unacknowledged or simply erased. This paper offers a fresh look at the history of intersectionality, its roots embedded in the pernicious subjugation of Black women in the United States, and how it has been operationalised to address and support European Black feminist politics