Questions of race and gender continue to undergird broad sections of inquiry in the academy and beyond. The ongoing legacies and current manifestations of racism and sexism continue to demand intellectual analysis, institutional recognition, and collective intervention. Reaching a critical crescendo during the political upheavals of the 1960s’ civil rights/anti-colonial era and the responding cultural turn in the humanities, Black feminists have discussed the ways in which both race and gender are co-constitutive and rely on intersecting paradigms of power and constructions of difference. Indeed, the concept of “intersectionality,” coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, has become a key mode of framing how identities and sites of contestation around identity are multiple and complex. Furthermore, critics and activists from a myriad of socio-political milieus have underscored the importance of intersectional approaches in struggles for social justice and in the making of inclusive public spaces. From feminist scholarship to human rights policy to commentary via Twitter memes, intersectionality as a theoretical concept, method of analysis, and mode of collaborative action circulates in both grassroots and intellectual discourse.

The Intersectional Inquiries conference will offer a platform for scholars from various fields to interrogate the intersections of race and gender--as manifested materially and discursively--from a broad range of historical, global, and contemporary contexts. We call on scholars, activists, and students to attend rigorously to the ways that race structures gender, sexualities, class, and dis/ability and the dominating matrices of biopolitical violence and imperialism, as well as to trace how racialized subjectivities and non-normative embodiments challenge and radically fracture hierarchy. With this conference, our hope is to inspire impactful intellectual dialogue and assist in building ties that might lead to scholarly- and social justice-focused collaborations.

Our confirmed keynote speaker is Professor Patricia Hill Collins, Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Professor Collins recently co-authored Intersectionality (Polity 2016) with Sirma Bilge.  Her first book, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Routledge 1990), won the Jessie Bernard Award of the American Sociological Association for significant scholarship in gender, and the C. Wright Mills Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.  Professor Collins is also the author and editor of several books dealing with race, gender, education, and politics, including On Intellectual Activism (Temple 2012); Another Kind of Public Education: Race, the Media, Schools, and Democratic Possibilities (Beacon 2009); and From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism (Temple 2006). 

For more information please visit the conference website.

University of Notre Dame Co-Sponsors: Center for Civil and Human Rights, Center for Social Concerns, Center for Social Movements, Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement, College of Engineering, Department of Africana Studies, Department of American Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of Art, Art History, & Design, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Department of English, Department of Film, Television, & Theatre, Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures, Department of Political Science, Department of Sociology, Department of Theology, Gender Studies Program, Graduate School, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Institute for Latino Studies, Kroc Institute for Peace Studies, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, Program of Liberal Studies, and Undergraduate Studies, College of Arts & Letters.