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Intersectionality: Traumatic Impressions

Date: 30 January 2008 Time: 1.00 pm

Emily Grabham, Kent University


Introduced as a method of integrating anti-essentialist perspectives into feminist perspectives on law, intersectionality has now achieved a wide degree of currency within legal and policy discourses on equality. In this paper, I interrogate intersectionality for its effects as a technique of governance. I draw on Wendy Brown's analysis of rights claims in States of Injury to argue that intersectionality cannot challenge law's disciplinary constructions of identity and that it in fact functions as an 'anatomy of detail' which supports law's propensity to classify. Moving away from the regulatory effects of intersectionality within law, I aim to reframe my understanding of the liberal subject's experience of inequalities through the cultural functions of trauma (Ann Cvetkovich), and the role of impressions in connecting questions of justice with emotional and physical encounters (Sara Ahmed). Viewing discrimination claims as expressions/impressions of trauma may, paradoxically, give us new ways of viewing complex inequalities, shifting the focus of intersectionality away from disciplinary identity categories and towards the cultural circulation of emotions.

Venue: Bowland North SR16

Refreshments will be avalible.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Law


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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