Undermining Intersectionality

The Perils of Powerblind Feminism

Barbara Tomlinson
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1651-3
Publication: Aug 20

HC: $69.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1650-6
Publication: Nov 18

Ebook: $69.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1652-0
Publication: Nov 18

284 pages
6 x 9

Now in Paperback—a sustained critique of the ways in which scholars have engaged with and deployed intersectionality

Read an excerpt of Chapter 1 (pdf.)


Praise for the hardcover edition:

"(A) timely intervention. The author carefully and intelligibly guides the reader through discussions of the deficiencies, normative predispositions, and consequences of extant efforts to suppress Black feminist political thought."Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy

"(Tomlinson) lays down a forceful defense of intersectionality’s contribution to knowledge and of women of color’s ownership over 'true' intersectional thought. Tomlinson meticulously analyzes popular feminist discussions about intersectionality and their discursive strategies, finding that the most vocal critics tend to neglect any meaningful engagement with intersectionality’s original texts, the racial studies literature, the history of European imperialism and slavery, or their own positionalities…. Undermining Intersectionality fastens the reins and redirects the ship." Women's Review of Books

In this provocative book, esteemed scholar Barbara Tomlinson asserts that intersectionality—the idea that categories such as gender, race, and class create overlapping systems of oppression—is consistently misinterpreted in feminist argument. Despite becoming a central theme in feminist scholarship and activism, Tomlinson believes dominant feminism has failed to fully understand the concept.

Table of Contents

1. Interrogating Critiques of Intersectionality
2. Category Anxiety
3. Metaphor Anxiety
4. Legitimating Powerblindness
5. The Vise of Geometry
6. Intersectionality Telephone and the Canyon of Echoes
7. The Invisible White Woman
8. Colonizing Intersectionality
9. Affect and the Epistemic Machine
10. Turning Off the Epistemic Machine

About the Author(s)

Barbara Tomlinson is Research Professor Emeritus of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award. She is the author of Authors on Writing: Metaphors and Intellectual Labor; Feminism and Affect at the Scene of Argument: Beyond the Trope of the Angry Feminist; and (with George Lipsitz) Insubordinate Spaces: Improvisation and Accompaniment for Social Justice.