Feminist originalism: Intersectionality and the politics of reading

Feminist Theory 17 (1):3-20 (2016)
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This article examines the growing body of commemorative feminist work on intersectionality – the myriad journals and books that have marked intersectionality’s twentieth anniversary and celebrated the analytic’s field-defining status and cross-disciplinary circulation. I argue that this commemorative scholarship is marked by its own genre conventions, including the emergence of originalism, an investment in returning to the ‘inaugural’ intersectional texts – namely Crenshaw’s two articles (1989, 1991) – and assessing later feminist work on intersectionality by its fidelity to those texts. The article reveals that intersectional originalism is its own practice of re-reading and re-interpretation that has its own complex temporal and racial politics, and which is animated by a desire to rescue intersectionality from critique in a moment in which identity politics are increasingly suspect.



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