Ashley J. Bohrer
Marxism and Intersectionality
Ashley J. Bohrer (PhD) is an academic, activist, and public intellectual. She is
an Assistant Professor at the University of Notre Dame and previously held a
postdoctoral position at Hamilton College. Her research in the fields of phi-
losophy, critical race studies, decolonial theory, intersectional feminism, and
Marxism explores the intersections of capitalism, colonialism, racism and het-
ero/sexism. As an activist, she is affiliated with various feminist, anti-racist and
Adorno, Theodor W. Lectures on Negative Dialectics: Fragments of a Lecture
Course 1965/1966. 1 edition. Cambridge: Polity, 2008.
———. Negative Dialectics. 2 edition. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 1981.
———. Prisms. Translated by Shierry Weber Nicholsen and Samuel Weber.
Reprint edition. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1983.
Aguilar, Delia. “Tracing the Roots of Intersectionality.” Monthly Review Zine,
April 12, 2012.
Ahmed, Sara. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life.
Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.
theorists and activists are obliged to work
through: how have previous attempts at solidarity failed so thoroughly as to
provoke the notion that solidarity is a fundamentally racialized and gendered
concept, perhaps stabilizing institutions of power rather than unsettling
them? To this conversation, we should counter-pose similar viral hashtags:
#IAmTray vonMartin and #WeAreAllTrayvon. Initially the hashtags, used
mostly by black people, demonstrated the ways in which being subjected to
armed violence and terror is a constitutive feature of anti-black racism in
Dai_core_search_form [abgerufen am 17.6.2012].
Khoury, Jack: Head to Head. Arabeh Mayor Omar Nasser, do you agree with
Netanyahu that Arabs live better here than elsewhere? (26.5.2011), in:
elsewhere-1.364104 [abgerufen am 19.6.2011].
Lampedusa Chronology. The situation inside detention centres (27.02.2009),
discussed below—double, triple, or
multiple jeopardy, standpoint theory, superexploitation, sexist racism—are
exactly the same as intersectionality as a theory would itself fall prey to precisely
this inattentive generalization. Hancock uses “intersectionality-like thought”
to describe the history of black feminist theorizing in her book on the history
of intersectionality13 and Carastathis uses “precursor concepts” to refer to this
history.14 Broadly speaking, the idea of precursor concepts marks ideas, dis-
courses, and analyses that came before intersectionality
positions shared by most if not all intersection-
ality theorists. I develop a series of six shared propositions that have, in large
part, come to define intersectionality and to distinguish it from other accounts
of the relationship between race, gender, class, and other axes of oppression.
The last section revisits the positions explored in the previous chapter in order
to distinguish them from intersectionality. While jeopardy, multiple oppres-
sion, sexist racism, and other formulations should be clearly located in the long
tradition of intersectionality
straw persons and scarecrows that too often form
a barricade between these two perspectives. This book is thus, in one way, a
rather long response to both of these moments and an articulation of how and
why each of these modes of engagement are ultimately insufficient, not only
for capturing the breadth and profundity of their concepts, but also for the
project of uprooting the systems of domination that structure our world. If we
are really to intervene against racism, cis/sexism, heteropatriarchy, and capi-
talism—and it is one of the arguments of this book
class requires racism and
hetero/sexism in order to continue to produce some populations as disposable,
and therefore more vulnerable to ever-more exploitable conditions. There are
two related but nonetheless distinct versions of this argument.
Version A posits oppression as a tool that capitalism uses, but argues that
exploitation is fundamental to the logic of capitalism, whereas oppression is
not; rather, oppression is a tool of convenience under capitalism, which may be
historically important, but it ultimately only holds empirical rather than struc-
assessment, which is that “as black feminists we are made constantly and
painfully aware of how little effort white women have made to understand and
combat their racism, which requires among other things, that they have a more
than superficial comprehension of race, color, and black history and culture.”4
Are we really to believe that walking a picket line for a few days is really suf-
ficient to impart ‘more than a superficial comprehension of race, color, black
history and culture’ in addition to gender, sexuality, gender identity, citizenship