From travel to arrival: mapping intersectionality’s landings in the Global South 

Monday, 23 August, 2021 - 16:00

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This paper briefly reflects on intersectionality’s travels to two distinct locales in the Global South, India and South Africa, where it has been enthusiastically taken up by academics and activists alike. In a formerly communist Indian state, West Bengal, queer feminist activist commitments to intersectionality fold into enduring postcolonial attachments to the “subaltern”. An intersectional queer politics collapses, at times, into a resolutely leftist one that privileges class relations, above all else. In South Africa, by contrast, “intersectionality” arrives at the high point of the student movement against the escalation of university fees and gives voice and meaning to deeply felt issues around gender-based violence and toxic masculinity. In both instances, the southern locales into which “intersectionality” arrives are hardly neutral or empty ones. Intersectionality’s travel and arrival are thus instances less of the diminishing radical potential of concepts as they travel, but opportunity for thinking about the impurity in which they always reside.



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