The term “intersectionality” has come to stand for a body of feminist racial analyses, a set of organizing strategies, and a political-­ethical standpoint for activists, articles, and intellectuals. The critical race theorist and black feminist legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw first wrote on intersectionality in her essay on workplace discrimination, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics” (1989). First presented as a talk at and then subsequently published by the University of Chicago Legal Forum, Crenshaw coined and introduced the term “intersectionality” as both an experience and an analytic. For Crenshaw, intersectionality is a revision of theories of discrimination and subordination in law, race, labor, and gender studies and a naming of black women’s embodied knowledge, historical positioning, and exploited labor. While originating from and foundational to the fields of critical race theory and the revision of legal theory by scholars such as Derrick Bell, Mari Matsuda, Charles Lawrence, Patricia Williams, and Richard Delgado, Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality shares much with both literary/feminist theory and radical politics in action. Intersectionality aligns with Hortense Spillers’s use of “imbrication” (2003), Cherríe Moraga’s foundational woman of color critique of “the ranking of...

This essay may be found on page 102 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay