Re-Examining Intersectionality in our 30th Year

Our 2018 call for the 2019 special session invited proposals that could provoke and promote discussion on any of the following questions:

  • What are the present dynamics of that original intersection (of sexism and racism)? How do those dynamics relate to our current demands, or reveal other intersections that should demand our attention?
  • What are some new/different intersections from those we have identified in the past? What are the spaces from which and within which we find ourselves working?
  • What constitutes a “margin” and/or a “hybrid/fraught” space? How can we witness these marginalizations compound?
  • What are the implications of moving beyond these notions of marginalization? Or of not moving beyond them?
  • What are the various feminisms we find ourselves attending to? What alternative terms or neologisms do we circulate, or should we circulate, within and beyond our field?

Proposals were then carefully, competitively selected through a blind-review process, and the six generous scholars who volunteered their time for this task had their work cut out for them: they received three times as many proposals as any iteration of the evening could contain, and ultimately shaped an evening of exceptional talks, delivered in multiple modes.

Sarah Singer, Heather Adams, Jenny Ungbha Korn, and Lana Oweidat prepared us well, affectively and intellectually, for a time of vibrant and active response. Large, write-able puzzle pieces and colored markers had been distributed across all tables in the ballroom, along with a list of questions inspired by all four microtalks. Audience members were invited to talk in their roundtable groups and respond on the puzzle pieces through image, symbol, and/or text, then to collaborate on physically assembling or re-assembling their puzzles. We gathered, photographed, and transcribed the “puzzles,” offering them back to our speakers for a critical response.

Throughout the evening, the microtalks and roundtable discussions served as a sober reminder of how much we have yet to be transformed by Crenshaw’s critique. Even still, the evening served as a stark reminder of how much the organization has accomplished and grown, owing to the ingenuity, labor, and love of thirteen presidents, thirteen Advisory Boards, and hundreds of unacknowledged members and volunteers, unafraid to speak out, speak to, and speak with.

While we cannot fully reproduce the multimodal energy of the evening—of the talks, of the shaping and reshaping of puzzles, and of speakers’ interactions among the tables and with the transcripts, ultimately leading to their critical responses—we can offer you one possible remediation of the evening’s elements in the forum below.

Tarez Samra Graban
CFSHRC President, 2018–2020