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Seminar: "The Emotional Politics of Feminist Coalition"

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Location: E0.23 - Social Sciences Building

CSWG Lunchtime Seminar:
“The Emotional Politics of Feminist Coalition: Learning to Listen by Provincializing the Generalised Feminist Subject”
Lisa Kalayji (University of Edinburgh)

Historical moments of heavy socio-political upheaval shake up the social bonds and identity categories through which collective agitation for change is mobilised (Hall, 1966), and feminists presently find ourselves at just such an electrified conjuncture. Far-right politics are in ascendancy around the globe, grassroots resistance is thriving, and emergent political consciousnesses are being articulated into and out of existence through roiling local struggles. The time is both ripe and urgent for feminists to pursue stronger solidarities, more efficacious political consciousness, and greater accountability to one another. In this talk, I will examine the emotionality of inter-feminist relationships, focusing particularly on schisms around cissexism and racism. Drawing upon my historical research on radical feminism in Britain in the 1980s, I trace the historical emergence and sedimentation of emotionalised discourses of inclusion and exclusion in radical feminism’s emotion culture. Placing this historical work in conversation with reflections on efforts to understand my own experiences of patriarchal violence, I elaborate the necessity of interdisciplinary and intersectional thinking as preconditions for meaningful feminist dialogue. I argue that cis, white feminists’ defensive and projective responses to narrations of the lived realities of trans women and women of colour are rooted in frustrated and failed efforts to understand our own experiences through the analytic lens of a generalised feminist subject and the inclusions and exclusions upon which it relies. Such an approach is inadequate to explain the lives of even the most privileged women, inevitably forestalling the authentic listening necessary for fruitful and accountable inter-feminist relationships. By using an interdisciplinary analytic toolkit and an intersectional lens, the specificity of all gendered oppressions is illuminated, the co-constitution of all subject positions of privilege and oppression is foregrounded, and greater space is thereby forged for deeper and more lasting feminist coalitions.

Speaker Bio:
Lisa Kalayji is a feminist sociologist interested in the cultural politics of emotion and affect. Her doctoral research explored the emotion culture of radical feminism in Britain in the 1980s, and she is currently doing work on decolonising emotion and affect theories and on the role of emotion in feminist teaching and learning.

The seminar will be chaired by Maria do Mar Pereira, and Demet Gulcicek will act as a discussant.

This event is free and open to all, and lunch will be provided.
We ask that participants book in advance to make sure we order the right amount of food and drink. You can book here.

Useful Information:

  • For information on getting to the University of Warwick, see here.
  • You can find a map of campus here. The lecture will take place in the Social Sciences building, which appears at the centre of the map.
  • The venue is wheelchair accessible with accessible, gender-neutral toilets nearby. If you face other access barriers or require more detailed accessibility information, please let us know so we can support your full participation.
  • We are unfortunately not able to offer childcare for this event, but babies and children are fully and warmly welcomed, and we will do our best to provide any amenities and adjustments necessary to support colleagues bringing babies or children.
  • If you have any questions or need special assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Laura Elwyn (

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