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Kompetenz­zentrum Frauen in Wissenschaft und Forschung

Conference ‘Practicing Intersectionality in Research, Activism and Politics’

Ort: FU Berlin
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Prof. Dr. Gülay Çağlar and Friederike Beier
Division for Gender & Diversity, Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political Science, FU Berlin

"In the last two decades, intersectionality has been widely established both as a framework and field of study within gender studies and as a praxis in feminist movements and politics. Intersectionality, a term introduced by Kimberlé Crenshaw, has gained a great deal of popularity as it provides a prism to identify complex and intersecting social inequalities. Putting Black women’s experiences of discrimination and marginalisation at the centre, Crenshaw argues for overcoming a single-axis thinking both, in anti-discrimination law and in political strategies of feminist movements. Yet the popularity and reach of intersectionality has been accompanied with contestations over the meaning of intersectionality and the direction of intersectionality studies.

Firstly, one point of contestation is the institutionalisation of intersectionality in academia and its appropriation by white feminists (particularly in Europe), leading to a de-politisation and to—as Sirma Bilge puts it—a “whitening of intersectionality” since the category of race and with it, the focus at Black women’s experiences, increasingly disappear from scholarly engagements. This has triggered debates around practices of knowledge production in different regional, institutional and disciplinary settings. Secondly, a great deal of discussions revolves around the question of how to analytically conceptualise categories of difference and their interrelationship along different axis of oppression such as racism, sexism, capitalism, ableism and homophobia within different social and political contexts. There is a huge variety of approaches ranging from conceptualisations of categories as positional, co-constitutive, or discursively constructed to deconstructivist, approaches that reject references to categories at all. These debates are important for methodological reasons and inform the ways in which the concept of intersectionality is employed for conducting empirical studies and analysing intersectional inequalities.

Against this background, this conference aims at taking stock and identifying the current state of intersectionality research in the fields of political and social sciences, politics, and activism. Our objective is to understand, how the above-mentioned debates feed into the analytics of political science. What consequences do feminist scholars in this disciplinary field draw from these debates for their research? What are their practices of knowledge production and how do they engage with institutions and communities that practice intersectionality? How do students of political science and early career scholars perceive the debates and attach meaning to the concept of intersectionality?"

Call for papers: Scholars, activists and students are invited to submit their proposals by April 15th 2023 to

Call for Papers & Safe the Date