Ladelle McWhorter, Racism and Sexual Oppression in Anglo-America [Book Review]

Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 16 (1):250-256 (2012)
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Abstract

In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the review: "For those familiar with McWhorter’s work, the publication of "Racism and Sexual Oppression in Anglo-America" was long awaited. I had en-countered an early form of the argument McWhorter rehearses in thisbook in an article she published in 2004 in "Hypatia." At that time, it was one of very few published critical engagements with the intersectional model of oppression. It had come to seem to me that, as the model became “mainstreamed”—that is, appropriated from Black feminists, who had introduced and elaborated the concept—the representational purposes to which intersectionality was now harnessed had changed. McWhorter pondered whether the increasingly vague gesture to intersectionality in feminist circles had become little more than “just a strategy to avoid charges of racism or classism.” (McWhorter, 2004, 38–39) What I found impressive about that article was its iconoclasm. McWhorter’sproject was to go beyond postulating that racial and sexual oppressions intersect—a claim rarely theorised in mainstream (that is, white-dominated) feminist theory. She argued that a genealogical investigation of the production of race and sex could illuminate their common investment with a form of power that, following Foucault, she termed “biopower”..."

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Anna Carastathis
Feminist Autonomous Centre for Research

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