Intersectionality appears in women’s studies programs’ and departments’ mission statements, as a touchstone of queer and feminist activist work, in NGO metrics for assessing the fundability of various efforts, and in the neologisms of diversity and inclusion offices at universities and corporations alike. It is hailed as a transformative theory, an interdisciplinary method, and the cure for feminism’s and society’s ailments, and it is bemoaned as a toxin that might poison contemporary feminism because of its imagined demand to account for complex power structures and multiple identity positions. Perhaps no term has circulated in feminist theory and politics with the speed and intensity of intersectionality, which now stands as a shorthand for the field-defining and programmatic ambitions of women’s studies and fields that are in solidarity with academic feminism. More than anything, intersectionality has become the preeminent location of a dense set of feminist desires, longings that reveal the continued centrality of racial anxieties to feminist practice.

This essay may be found on page 129 of the printed volume.

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