A Kantian Theory of Intersectionality

In Reiko Gotoh (ed.), Dignity, Freedom and Justice. Springer. Translated by H Kato (forthcoming)
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Kimberlé Crenshaw arrived at her famous phrase “intersectionality” by carefully thinking through speeches and writings given to us by early Black feminists, such as like Sojourner Truth and Anna J. Cooper. In this paper, I expand on this groundbreaking work in two somewhat surprising ways. First, I bring the ideas of these early Black feminists together with important, related proposals from W.E.B. Du Bois, Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, and Simone de Beauvoir. Second, I relate these works to central ideas in Kant’s practical philosophy in an effort to develop a Kantian theory of intersectionality. In addition to grasping the distinctive, destructive directions of oppressive forces aimed at women, the poor, and minorities, I seek to understand better the new, violently destructive elements found in European modernity, as evidenced both in European colonialization as well as the Holocaust.

Author's Profile

Helga Varden
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


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