This talk aspires to historicize the present moment, one where intersectionality is celebrated as "part of the gender studies canon," (Baca Zinn 2012) "the most cutting-edge approach to the politics of gender, race, sexual orientation, and class" (Hancock 2011), and "the most important contribution that women's studies … has made so far" (McCall 2005). In other words, the talk endeavors to understand a moment when intersectionality, a form of outsider-knowledge, has become institutionalized, conflated with diversity, and deployed by universities (and women's studies departments and programs) to signal commitments to inclusion and difference. How and why did intersectionality come to institutional power in the early 2000's, and what institutional needs - in women's studies, and in the university more broadly - did intersectionality's emergence serve?
Jennifer C. Nash is the author of The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography (Duke University Press, 2014) as well as articles appearing in journals including GLQ, Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, Social Text, Scholar & Feminist, and Feminist Theory.
Presented by IRWG, the Department of Women's Studies, and Doing Queer Studies Now (DQSN) Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop.