Skip to main content
×
×
Home

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

  • Sumi Cho (a1)
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: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed