Afterthoughts: Black Feminism Reimagined after Intersectionality

Afterthoughts: Black Feminism Reimagined after Intersectionality

Posted on 11/10/2020

Dr. Jennifer Nash (Duke University) presented her book, Black Feminism Reimagined After

Intersectionality to WGSS students and faculty in a private book talk on October 16th. The talk

was organized by Dr. Tara Green, the Linda Arnold Carlisle Distinguished

Professor in WGSS, and moderated by Dr. Danielle Bouchard, Associate Professor and WGSS Graduate Director.


Black Feminism Reimagined centers the travels of intersectionality, a legal concept 

created by Kimberlé Crenshaw that referred to the comingling of race and gender discrimination. Nash sees the term moving away from its 

original purpose and the intellectual labor that birthed the concept.

Intersectionality has come to represent a “dense set of feminist desires” serving as the

remedy for feminism’s problems and at the same time a poison for the unamended feminism that

some cling to nostalgically. The use of the term today often places Black women as the saviors of the United

States, making them into physical representations of intersectionality in ways that are incredibly

problematic as they necessitate the labor and suffering of Black women as Intersectionality’s


Nash explored the growing popularity of intersectionality and suggested that it becomes a shallow concept when it is divorced from academic work and critical Black

feminist thought. Thinking through t-shirt slogans, corporate diversity initiatives, and the

academy, Nash’s Black Feminism Reimagined points to some of the essentialist discourse that has risen in its wake.

Nash’s short lecture was followed by a Question and Answer session in which faculty and

students thought through intersectionality, asked questions about the book, and Dr. Nash’s 

background and perspective. We are grateful for Dr. Nash’s thought-provoking presentation and enjoyed the  riveting discussion about the potential of intersectionality and its downfalls as it

enters the sphere of pop culture, journalism, academic administration, and public life.