Black Feminism Reimagined

After Intersectionality

Black Feminism Reimagined

Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies

More about this series

Book Pages: 184 Illustrations: Published: March 2019

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, American Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies

In Black Feminism Reimagined Jennifer C. Nash reframes black feminism's engagement with intersectionality, often celebrated as its primary intellectual and political contribution to feminist theory. Charting the institutional history and contemporary uses of intersectionality in the academy, Nash outlines how women's studies has both elevated intersectionality to the discipline's primary program-building initiative and cast intersectionality as a threat to feminism's coherence. As intersectionality has become a central feminist preoccupation, Nash argues that black feminism has been marked by a single affect—defensiveness—manifested by efforts to police intersectionality's usages and circulations. Nash contends that only by letting go of this deeply alluring protectionist stance, the desire to make property of knowledge, can black feminists reimagine intellectual production in ways that unleash black feminist theory's visionary world-making possibilities.


"What Nash does in Black Feminism Reimagined is new, brave, and important." — Chelsea Johnson, Women's Review of Books

"Scholars and practitioners of intersectionality will find Nash’s nuanced reflections on the institutional basis for the intersectionality wars to be insightful and thought-provoking." — Morgan C. Matthews, Resources for Gender and Women's Studies

"This book brings charged feminist issues, anxieties, and negative affects to the surface for the field of women’s studies to confront making for a challenging yet necessary read." — Tiffany Lethabo King, Feminist Formations

"This is a book that generates messy feelings, that forges counterintuitive intimacies, that asks and answers difficult questions about a field that is still too often denied a brief— at least in the US academy— as a crucial site of intellectual motility, critical inquiry, and capacious knowledge production." — Shoniqua Roach, Syndicate

"Black Feminism Reimagined is an invitation to explore the radical openness of Black feminism and the diversity of its potential expressions." — James Bliss, Syndicate

"[This] book has created a moment in the academy that calls us to practice radical honesty. [Its] honesty about the affect and feelings that Black feminism— and particularly intersectionality— produce in the academy is a rare and refreshing break from the norms of bourgeois pretense and protocols of politesse." — Tiffany King, Syndicate

"Black Feminism Reimagined invites us to think about which sites of black feminism have been emphasized and which have been foreclosed in its multi-decade tarrying with the academy." — Amber Musser, Syndicate

"Nash provides an important new examination of intersectionality and Black feminism, one that will shape women’s studies and feminist theory well into the future. Challenging yet enlightening, this book is sharp and nuanced and necessary. It’s your end-of-year #RequiredReading." — Karla Strand, Ms.

“[This] book has obvious merits within the field of women’s studies, making a timely contribution to feminist discourse and scholarship on intersectionality.”

— Janine E. Carlse, Feminist Encounters

"The complex questions that Nash poses are answered in intricate ways that open up new paths of inquiry, yet her theoretical work is clear and straightforward. Black Feminism Reimagined would surely produce rich discussion as part of a graduate or even upper-level undergraduate course on critical theory, women’s studies, black feminism, women of color feminism, or intersectionality. Ultimately, Nash transforms the role of the critic in her reimagining of black feminism. By naming the labor that black feminism is called upon to perform and by thoroughly engaging with intersectionality’s defenders and critics, Nash transforms her critique into an act of love and care." — Mary Frankovich, International Feminist Journal of Politics

"The text is bold in its intellectual underpinnings as Nash develops an argument for the reimagining of black feminism. . . . Nash should be applauded for her bravery in approaching a subject that is intimate to so many scholars and peers." — Pearl K. Dowe, Politics & Gender

“This book troubles the water of black feminism's various permutations. It asks tough questions and provides nuanced answers. It is a must-read for scholars in the field. Jennifer C. Nash is a key voice in black studies, and if we didn't know that before, we know it now.” — Sharon Patricia Holland, author of The Erotic Life of Racism

Black Feminism Reimagined takes stock of how the ubiquitous notion of intersectionality has become vexed by various appropriations and disparagements in the decades since it was first introduced into the tool kit of race and gender analysis. Jennifer C. Nash's eloquent appeal cautions against too-reactive defensiveness in response to those derangements. In this meticulous ‘critique [of] proprietary impulses,’ Nash deftly reorients the theory of intersectionality back toward its most generous and generative inspirations: vulnerability, intimacy, transnationalism, and the ethical practices of witnessing.” — Patricia J. Williams, author of The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor


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Price: $24.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jennifer C. Nash is Associate Professor of African American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University, author of The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography, also published by Duke University Press, and editor of Gender: Love.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction: Feeling Black Feminism  1
1. A Love Letter from a Critic, or Notes on the Intersectionality Wars  33
2. The Politics of Reading  59
3. Surrender  81
4. Love in the Time of Death  111
Coda: Some of Us are Tired  133
Notes  139
Bibliography  157
Index  165
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Winner of the 2019 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Prize, presented by the National Women's Studies Association

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