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University of Chicago Legal Forum
Volume 1989 | Issue 1 Article 8
Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex:
A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination
Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics
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Crenshaw, Kimberle () “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine,
Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum: Vol. 1989: Iss. 1, Article 8.
Available at: http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclf/vol1989/iss1/8
When Dionne Brand writes, she writes the land. Her important collection
of poetry Land to Light On is a map. But this map does not easily follow
existing cartographic rules, borders, and lines. Land to Light On provides
a different geographic story, one which allows pavement to answer ques-
tions, most of the world to be swallowed up by a woman’s mouth, and Chat-
ham, Buxton—Ontario sites haunted by the underground railroad—to be
embedded with Uganda, Sri Lanka, slave castles, and the entries and exits
of Sarah Vaughan’s singing. And Brand gives up on land, too. She not only
refuses a comfortable belonging to nation, or country, or a local street,
she alters them by demonstrating that geography, the material world, is
infused with sensations and distinct ways of knowing: rooms full of weep-
ing, exhausted countries, a house that is only as safe as flesh. Brand’s deci-
sion, to give up on land, to want no country, to disclose that geography is
always human and that humanness is always geographic—blood, bones,
hands, lips, wrists, this is your land, your planet, your road, your sea—sug-
gests that her surroundings are speakable. And this speakability is not only
communicated through the poet, allowing her to emphasize the alterabil-
ity of space and place, to give up on land and imagine new geographic
stories; in her work, geography holds in it the possibility to speak for itself.
Brand’s sense of place continually reminds me that human geography
needs some philosophical attention; she reminds me that the earth is also
skin and that a young girl can legitimately take possession of a street, or
an entire city, albeit on different terms than we may be familiar with. So
I n t r o d u c t i o n
I don’t want no fucking country, here
or there and all the way back, I don’t like it, none of it,
easy as that.
McKittrick, K. (2006). Demonic grounds : Black women and the cartographies of struggle. University of Minnesota Press.
Created from aul on 2023-03-02 20:03:48.
this philosophical attention is not only needed because existing carto-
graphic rules unjustly organize human hierarchies in place and reify uneven
geographies in familiar, seemingly natural ways. This attention is also needed
because, if we trust Brand’s insights, these rules are alterable and there exists
a terrain through which different geographic stories can be and are told.
Demonic Grounds is, in its broadest sense, an interdisciplinary analysis
of black women’s geographies in the black diaspora. It seeks to consider
what kinds of possibilities emerge when black studies