Brittney Cooper

in The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory

Published in print February 2016 | ISBN: 9780199328581
Published online August 2015 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, the term intersectionality has become the key analytic framework through which feminist scholars in various fields talk about the structural identities of race, class, gender, and sexuality. This chapter situates intersectionality within a long history of black feminist theorizing about interlocking systems of power and oppression, arguing that intersectionality is not an account of personal identity but one of power. It challenges feminist theorists, including Robyn Wiegman, Jennifer Nash, and Jasbir Puar, who have attempted to move past intersectionality because of its limitations in fully attending to the contours of identity. The chapter also maps conversations within the social sciences about intersectionality as a research methodology. Finally, it considers what it means for black women to retain paradigmatic status within intersectionality studies, whether doing so is essentialist, and therefore problematic, or whether attempts to move “beyond” black women constitute attempts at erasure and displacement.

Keywords: intersectionality; race; class; gender; neoliberalism; black women; black feminism

Article.  10819 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Theory

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