Skip to main content
×
×
Home

POST-INTERSECTIONALITY: The Curious Reception of Intersectionality in Legal Scholarship1

  • Sumi Cho (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Although intersectionality analysis originates in a critique of legal doctrine and its confining approach to subject formation, intersectionality has been adopted widely outside of legal scholarship—nationally and internationally—to explain how fields of power operate and interact to produce hierarchy for any limitless combination of identities. Yet, within law, some scholars have raised questions precisely about the capacity of intersectionality to grapple with subjects who occupy multiple social positions and those with “partially privileged” identities in particular. Thus, over roughly a decade, a critique took shape about the theoretical capacity and normative commitment of intersectionality theory to address particular subgroups.

This essay tells part of the curious story about how a race-sexuality critique of intersectionality emerged, what may have motivated it, and how it has facilitated an emerging progressive masculinities literature that is “post-intersectional,” i.e., positioned over and against intersectionality. Like other post-intersectionality approaches, multidimensionality theorists decidedly seek to ‘get beyond’ something, and that ‘something’ that underwrites the turn away from intersectionality appears not as substantive theoretical or analytical content, or as political strategy, but rather, as identity-driven and engendered.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor Sumi Cho, DePaul University College of Law, 25 E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60605. E-mail: scho@depaul.edu
Footnotes
Hide All
1

I thank the Du Bois Review editors for their helpful feedback on this piece. I also thank the African American Policy Forum for its generous support to present an early version of this paper in at the Social Justice Writers workshop, and for comments received there, particularly from Barbara Tomlinson, George Lipsitz, Alvin Starks, and Luke Harris. This work was strengthened due to conversations with my friend, Athena Mutua, who is a gracious and challenging dialogue partner. Of course, this work would not be possible without the inspiration of the author originating intersectionality theory, Kimberlé Crenshaw.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Abrams Kathryn (1994). Title VII and the Complex Female Subject. Michigan Law Review, 92(8): 24792540.
Abrams Kathryn (1995). Complex Claimants and Reductive Moral Judgments: New Patterns in the Search for Equality. University of Pittsburgh Law Review, 57(2): 337362.
Althusser Louis (1971). Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Towards an Investigation). In Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. London: Monthly Review Press.
Arriola Elvia (1994). Gendered Inequality: Lesbians, Gays and Feminist Legal Theory. Berkeley Women's Law Journal, 9(1): 103143.
Banks Taunya Lovell (1999). Toward a Global Critical Feminist Vision: Domestic Work and the Nanny Tax Debate. Gender, Race & Justice, 3(1): 144.
Caldwell Paulette M. (1991). A Hair Piece: Perspectives on the Intersection of Race and Gender. Duke Law Journal, 1991(2): 365396.
Carbado Devon W. (2002). Race to the Bottom. UCLA Law Review, 49(5): 12831312.
Carbado Devon W. (2011). Afterword: Critical What What? Connecticut Law Review, 43(5): 15931644.
Carbado Devon W. (2013). Colorblind Intersectionality. Signs, 38(4): 811845.
Chang Robert S. and Culp Jerome McCristal Jr. (2002). After Intersectionality. UMKC Law Review, 71(2): 485492.
Cho Sumi (2009). Post-racialism. Iowa Law Review, 94(5): 15891650.
Cho Sumi K. (1997). Converging Stereotypes in Racialized Sexual Harassment: Where the Model Minority Meets Suzie Wong. Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, 1(1): 177212.
Cho Sumi and Westley Robert (2000). Critical Race Coalitions: Key Movements that Performed the Theory. UC Davis Law Review, 33(4): 13771428.
Chun Jennifer, Lipsitz George, and Shin Young (2013). Intersectionality as a Social Movement Strategy: Asian Immigrant Women Advocates. Signs, 38(4): 917940.
Collins Patricia Hill (1991). Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge.
Combahee River Collective (1978). Combahee River Collective Statement. ⟨http://circuitous.org/scraps/combahee.html⟩ (accessed November 25, 2013).
Cooper Frank Rudy and McGinley Ann C. (2012). Masculinities and the Law: A Multidimensional Approach. New York: NYU Press.
Cooper Frank Rudy and McGinley Ann C. (2013). Identities Cubed: Perspectives on Multidimensional Masculinities Theory. Nevada Law Journal, 13(2): 326340.
Crenshaw Kimberlé (1989). Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine. University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989: 139168.
Crenshaw Kimberlé (1991). Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity, and Violence Against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6): 12411300.
Crenshaw Kimberlé (1993). Beyond Racism and Misogyny: Black Feminism and 2 Live Crew. In Matsuda Mari J., Gordon Robert W., and Radin Margaret Jane (Eds.), Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment, pp. 111132. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Crenshaw Kimberlé (2002). The First Decade: Critical Reflections, or “A Foot in the Closing Door.” In Valdes Francisco, Culp Jerome McCristal, and Harris Angela P. (Eds.), Crossroads, Directions, and a New Critical Race Theory, pp. 931. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Crenshaw Kimberlé (2011). Twenty Years of Critical Race Theory: Looking Back to Move Forward. Connecticut Law Review, 43(5): 12531354.
Crooms Lisa A. (1997). Indivisible Rights and Intersectional Identities: or What do Women's Rights Have to Do with the Race Convention? Howard Law Journal, 40(3): 619640.
Danielson Dan and Engle Karen (Eds.) (1995). After Identity: A Reader in Law and Culture. New York: Routledge.
Davis Angela (1981). Women, Race and Class. New York: Random House.
Ehrenreich Nancy (2002). Subordination and Symbiosis: Mechanisms of Mutual Support Between Subordinating Systems. UMKC Law Review, 71(2): 251324.
Ford Richard T. (2002). Beyond “Difference”: A Reluctant Critique of Legal Identity Politics. In Brown Wendy and Halley Janet (Eds.), Left Legalism, Left Critique, pp. 3879. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Giddings Paula (1984). When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America. New York: William Morrow.
Gilmore Angela (1990). It Is Better to Speak. Berkeley Women's Law Journal, 6(1): 7480.
Guinier Lani and Torres Gerald (2003). The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Gunning Isabelle R. (1992). Arrogant Perception, World Traveling, and Multicultural Feminism: The Case of Female Genital Surgeries. Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 23(2): 189248.
Han Sora (2006). The Politics of Race in Asian American Jurisprudence. UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal, 11(1): 140.
Hernandez-Truyol Berta Esperanza (1997). Borders (En)Gendered: Normativities, Latinas, and a LatCrit Paradigm. NYU Law Review, 72(4): 882927.
hooks bell (1984). Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. New York: South End Press.
Hutchinson Darren Lenard (1998). Out Yet Unseen: A Racial Critique of Gay and Lesbian Legal Theory and Political Discourse. Connecticut Law Review, 29(2): 561646.
Hutchinson Darren Lenard (1999). Ignoring the Sexualization of Race: Heteronormativity, Critical Race Theory, and Anti-Racist Politics. Buffalo Law Review, 47(1): 1116.
Hutchinson Darren Lenard (2001). Identity Crisis: “Intersectionality,” “Multidimensionality,” and the Development of an Adequate Theory of Subordination. Michigan Journal of Race & Law, 6(2): 285318.
Hutchinson Darren Lenard (2002). New Complexity Theories: From Theoretical Innovation to Doctrinal Reform. UMKC Law Review, 71(2): 431446.
Hutchinson Darren Lenard (2004). Foreword to Critical Race Theory: History, Evolution and New Frontiers Symposium: Critical Race Histories In and Out. American University Law Review, 53(6): 11881215.
Jefferson Theresa Raffaele (1998). Towards a Black Lesbian Jurisprudence. Boston College Third World Law Journal, 18(2): 263292.
Jesperson v. Harrahs (2006). 444 F.3d 1104.
Johnson Paula C. (1995). At the Intersection of Injustice: Experiences of African American Women in Crime and Sentencing. American University Journal of Gender & Law, 4(1): 176.
Kwan Peter (1997). Jeffrey Dahmer and the Cosynthesis of Categories. Hastings Law Journal, 48(6): 12571292.
Kwan Peter (2000). Complicity and Complexity: Cosynthesis and Praxis. DePaul Law Review, 49(3): 673692.
Levit Nancy (2002). Introduction: Theorizing the Connections Among Systems of Subordination, UMKC Law Review, 71(2): 227249.
Lowe Lisa (1996). Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Matsuda Mari (1987). Looking to the Bottom: Critical Legal Studies and Reparations. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 22(2): 323400.
Matsuda Mari (2010). Grounding Intersectionality: Critical Foundations and Trajectories. Paper presented at the 4th Annual Critical Race Studies Annual Symposium on Intersectionalities, Los Angeles, CA, March 11.
McCall Leslie (2005). The Complexity of Intersectionality. Signs, 30(3): 17711800.
Montoya Margaret E. (1994). Mascaras, Trenzas y Grenas: Unmasking the Self while Un/braiding Latina Stories and Legal Discourse. Harvard Women's Law Journal, 17: 185220.
Montoya Margaret E. and Valdes Francisco (2008). Latinas/os and The Politics of Knowledge Production: LatCrit Scholarship and Academic Activism as Social Justice Action. Indiana Law Journal, 83(4): 11971234.
Mutua Athena (1999). Shifting Bottoms and Rotating Centers: Reflections on LatCrit II and the Black/White Paradigm. University of Miami Law Review, 53(4): 11771218.
Mutua Athena (2006). The Rise, Development and Future Directions of Critical Race Theory and Related Scholarship. Denver University Law Review, 84(2): 329394.
Mutua Athena (2012). The Multidimensional Turn: Revisiting Progressive Black Masculinities in Multidimensional Masculinities and Law. In Cooper Frank Rudy and McGinley Ann C. (Eds.), Masculinities and the Law: A Multidimensional Approach, pp. 7895. New York: NYU Press.
Mutua Athena (2013). Multidimensionality Is to Masculinities What Intersectionality Is to Feminism. Nevada Law Journal, 13(12): 341367.
Ota Nancy K. (1998). Falling from Grace. Chicano-Latino Law Review, 19: 437448.
Ota Nancy K. (2000). Flying Buttresses. DePaul Law Review, 49(3): 693728.
Phillips Stephanie L. (1999). The Convergence of the Critical Race Theory Workshop with LatCrit Theory: A History. University of Miami Law Review, 53(4): 12471256.
Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins (1989). 490 U.S. 229.
Puar Jasbir (2007). Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Rogers v. American Airlines (1981). 527 F. Supp. 229.
Rosenblum Darren (1994). Queer Intersectionality and the Failure of Recent Lesbian and Gay “Victories.” Law and Sexuality, 4: 83122.
Russell Margaret M. (1994). Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Rights and “The Civil Rights Agenda.” African-American Law & Policy Report, 1(1): 3378.
Sandoval Chela (2000). Methodology of the Oppressed. Minneappolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Spelman Elizabeth (1990). Inessential Woman: Problems of Exclusion in Feminist Thought. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Valdes Francisco (1997). Queer Margins, Queer Ethics: A Call to Account for Race and Ethnicity in the Law, Theory, and Politics of “Sexual Orientation.” Hastings Law Journal, 48(6): 12931342.
Valdes Francisco (1998). Beyond Sexual Orientation in Queer Legal Theory: Majoritarianism, Multidimensionality, and Responsibility in Social Justice Scholarship or Legal Scholars as Cultural Warriors. Denver University Law Review, 75(4): 14091464.
Volpp Leti (1994). (Mis)Identifying Culture: Asian Women and the “Cultural Defense.” Harvard Women's Law Journal, 17: 57102.
Wing Adrien (1997a). A Critical Race Feminist Conceptualization of Violence: South African and Palestinian Women. Albany Law Review, 60(3): 943976.
Wing Adrien (Ed.) (1997b). Critical Race Feminism: A Reader. New York: NYU Press.
Wing Adrien (Ed.) (2003). Global Critical Race Feminism: An International Reader. New York: NYU Press.
Yamamoto Eric K. (1999). Interracial Justice: Conflict & Reconciliation in Post-Civil Rights America. New York: NYU Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 22
Total number of PDF views: 208 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 633 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 16th January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.