by Keywords Feminist Editorial Collective
We write this introduction from our isolated homes across the United States in the fall of 2020 while many of us are homeschooling our kids, teaching classes from our kitchen tables, and worrying about the health and economic stability of our families, friends, and communities. We write as the world is witnessing a great upheaval in neoliberal patriarchal white supremacist business as usual. From the start, our collective wanted to address these structures head-on. We had planned to write this introduction together during an editorial retreat over a long weekend away in late March 2020; writing collectively while sharing food, drinks, and camaraderie was central to how we imagined the praxis of creating this volume. Losing the possibility for that type of embodied, collective feminist world making is, in the end, a tiny loss within the unspeakably enormous losses created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the traumatic events of state violence. Yet the many losses and structural inequities that the pandemic exposes and the rising collective voices opposing them are now, and always will be, the context from which we, along with our contributors, produced this volume. Remembering context and history, building and fostering relationships of mutual care, and collectively generating knowledge are central to the feminist approach that we hope Keywords for Gender and Sexuality Studies reflects.
In the United States, race is a colonial project forged in Indigenous dispossession and African enslavement. It has been shaped through multiple historical events, including independence from the British colonial sovereign, rapid western expansion and further dispossession, the internal ethical and capitalist crisis of the Civil War, the false promises of emancipation, the absorption of Mexican states and peoples into the US Southwest, the conscription of indentured Asian laborers subsequently subjected to anti-immigration laws and antisedition surveillance, the brutality of the Jim Crow South, the achievement of desegregation during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and the liberalization of immigration law to end racial quotas in 1965. Many tellings of the history of race in the United States go on to claim that those civil rights efforts resulted in the establishment in the early 1970s of ethnic studies programs and American Indian studies curricula at universities where students could finally learn the histories and cultures of diverse peoples of color with connected but different relationships to the United States.
Keywords for Gender and Sexuality Studies introduces readers to a set of terms that will aid them in understanding the central methodological and political stakes currently energizing feminist and queer studies. The volume deepens the analyses of this field by highlighting justice-oriented intersectional movements and foregrounding Black, Indigenous, and women of color feminisms; transnational feminisms; queer of color critique; trans, disability, and fat studies; feminist science studies; and critiques of the state, law, and prisons that emerge from queer and women of color justice movements.