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Feminism and Race


Steven Connelly, Associate Professor, suggested Caliban and the Witch, by Sylvia Federici:

" What struck me most was its account of the historical intersectionality in the way the ideological re-conceptualisation of women’s bodies informed the treatment of black bodies and vice versa through the 15th-to-18th centuries.”

Maebh Harding’s choice is Feminism is for everybody, by bell hooks:

"I came across this book as an undergraduate student. I was doing a jurisprudence course at the time and, although there had been a brief mention of feminism in the introduction, the substance consisted nearly entirely of Hart, Dworkin, Rawls, Finnis and Posner. I found this very unrelatable. A friend in sociology recommended that I read bell hooks, and, although it was based in an American context, I found it much more exciting. It really helped me to question law’s role in reinforcing structural inequalities and to start to understand the importance of intersectionality in feminism.”

For Jackie Hodgson, The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, is a must-read:

"This book imagines a literal railroad mirroring the network of routes and safe houses enabling African American slaves to escape in the early 19th century. Told through the eyes of a young woman, Cora, it is a gripping story with compelling characters. There are accounts of seemingly benevolent medical interventions that are in fact closer to eugenics experiments, as well as lynchings, abuse and torture, reminding us of the various ways in which race subordinates.”

Jackie Hodgson also suggests The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner:

“The focus of this book is a group of female prisoners, but the telling of their life stories, relationships and what brought them to prison speaks to race, gender, sexuality and poverty. I was struck by the non-sensationalist way in which accounts are told, underlining the normalisation of the brutal. Romy, our protagonist, speaks of rape, assault, abuse, of children’s mistrust of adults, and of living in poverty, in unsentimental ways. There is tragedy in the portrayal of modern America, and of the prison system, but this is a compelling read.”

Sarah Bailey, Senior Finance Officer, recommends The Colour Purple, by Alice Walker.

" I was influenced at an early(ish) age by The Colour Purple. It gave me an awareness, and, most importantly, some more detail, of the social struggles of black women in the early 20th century, but in the accessible way (for a younger person) of a novel.”

Tara Mulqueen recommends This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.

" I was exposed to this book as an undergraduate student in politics, on a course in LGBTQ studies. This text introduced me to intersectionality for the first time, and helped me to understand in a practical way how rights struggles can be regressive and exclusionary. It is also fierce and hard-hitting.””