Paper Title

Eventing Intersectionality: What Matters? Who Says?

Location

Room 221, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

intersectionality, performativity, posthumanism, Butler, Puar

Abstract

Eventing Intersectionality: What Matters? Who Says?

Ellen Cox, Transylvania University

One of the most compelling dilemmas of intersectionality is the problem of subjectivity. What can be put into the generality of words and concept that manages to capture the singularity and historicity of the intersectional subject? Such questions lead back to the ontological assumptions of intersectionality and their implications for intersectional politics. Feminist thinkers have generally fallen into two camps: essentialists and social constructivists. Since Crenshaw introduced the term “intersectionality,” work has been done to complicate this easy distinction. Particularly provocative is the performativity of Judith Butler, who brings Foucault’s work on disciplinary practices and discourse to bear on gender and sexuality, and the posthumanism of Donna Haraway, who draws on Deleuze’s notion of assemblage to consider questions of gender, power, and subjectivity in terms of complex connections and articulations between material entities

Following on these, I explore what is gained and lost for feminism’s interrogation of its own subject by considering intersectionality not as a method of inquiry or predicate of an extra-discursive subject, but as an event. Crenshaw herself uses the figure of a traffic intersection to portray intersectionality as fluid occurrence, rather than fixed concept. I will pursue some of the questions about intersectionality and assemblage first raised by Jasbir Puar by examining the fascinating collision of performativity and materiality in the work of Karen Barad and others who endeavor to understand how bodies and words, matter and representation articulate the configurations of power and resistance we call “subjects.”

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Apr 2nd, 9:00 AM Apr 2nd, 10:15 AM

Eventing Intersectionality: What Matters? Who Says?

Room 221, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Eventing Intersectionality: What Matters? Who Says?

Ellen Cox, Transylvania University

One of the most compelling dilemmas of intersectionality is the problem of subjectivity. What can be put into the generality of words and concept that manages to capture the singularity and historicity of the intersectional subject? Such questions lead back to the ontological assumptions of intersectionality and their implications for intersectional politics. Feminist thinkers have generally fallen into two camps: essentialists and social constructivists. Since Crenshaw introduced the term “intersectionality,” work has been done to complicate this easy distinction. Particularly provocative is the performativity of Judith Butler, who brings Foucault’s work on disciplinary practices and discourse to bear on gender and sexuality, and the posthumanism of Donna Haraway, who draws on Deleuze’s notion of assemblage to consider questions of gender, power, and subjectivity in terms of complex connections and articulations between material entities

Following on these, I explore what is gained and lost for feminism’s interrogation of its own subject by considering intersectionality not as a method of inquiry or predicate of an extra-discursive subject, but as an event. Crenshaw herself uses the figure of a traffic intersection to portray intersectionality as fluid occurrence, rather than fixed concept. I will pursue some of the questions about intersectionality and assemblage first raised by Jasbir Puar by examining the fascinating collision of performativity and materiality in the work of Karen Barad and others who endeavor to understand how bodies and words, matter and representation articulate the configurations of power and resistance we call “subjects.”