About this topic

Black feminist philosophy is a version of feminism whose primary focus concerns, at least to some degree, Black women from within African diasporic contexts. It has the aim of understanding problems facing Black women along with identifying and/or uncovering liberation strategies. It also includes work that seeks to highlight the ways Black women's thought illuminates broader philosophical questions and issues. Least one think that Black feminist philosophy only concerns oppression, it also concerns celebrations of the lives and work of Black women across African diasporic contexts. These investigative paths lead to particular social ontologies, epistemologies, and pragmatic orientations, for example. 

Key works Intersectionality: A conceptual tool that demands identification of multiple social relationships for the purpose of rendering visible experiences that have been theoretically erased by prevailing, relevant practices of knowledge production. Crenshaw 1989, Crenshaw 1991 Double Jeopardy: A metaphor developed to gesture to the need to consider multiple vectors of oppression when attempting to understand ranges of vulnerability for any given group. (Beale 1969) Interstices: A metaphor developed to signal to gaps within contexts of signification that signals empowerment and disempowerment. (Spillers 1984) Unknowability: A form of active ignorance that is created by utilizing socio-epistemic orientations that render complex positions in our social landscapes difficult to detect. (Williams 1905)
Introductions Crenshaw 1989, Collins 1991/2008
Related categories

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  1. Scholar's Symposium: The Work of Angela Y. Davis. [REVIEW]Amy Allen - 2007 - Human Studies 30 (4):311-321.
  2. Situated Black Women's Voices in/on the Profession of Philosophy.Anita Allen, Anika Maaza Mann, Donna-Dale L. Marcano, Michele Moody-Adams & Jacqueline Scott - 2008 - Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 23 (2):160-189.
  3. This Bridge Called My Back: Radical Writings by Women of Color.Gloria Anzaldúa & Cherrie Moraga (eds.) - 1984/2002 - Kitchen Table Women of Color Press.
    This Bridge Called My Back - writings by radical women of color, is an anthology that two decades ago, called for 'a radical restructuring of this country' [ie the United States of America]. On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, Cherríe Moraga began her task of composing the foreword to the book's third edition. The bombing of America's World Trade Centre reminded her of the extent to which invasion and terrorism have, for five centuries, been a part life for Third (...)
  4. Anna Julia Cooper, Visionary Black Feminist: A Critical Introduction. By VIVIAN M. MAY.Cathryn Bailey - 2009 - Hypatia 24 (1):185-188.
  5. Anna Julia Cooper: "Dedicated in the Name of My Slave Mother to the Education of Colored Working People".Cathryn Bailey - 2004 - Hypatia 19 (2):56-73.
    : The achievements of Anna Julia Cooper are extraordinary given her life circumstances. Driven by a desire Cooper called "a thumping within," she became a prominent educator, earned her Ph.D., and influenced the thought of W.E.B. DuBois and others. Cooper fought for her educational philosophy, but despite her contributions, her apparent elitism has shaped contemporary assessments of her work. I argue that her views must be considered in social and historical context.
  6. Representative Women: Slavery, Citizenship, and Feminist Theory in Du Bois's “Damnation of Women”.Lawrie Balfour - 2005 - Hypatia 20 (3):127-148.
  7. Sarah Grimké: Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and Other Essays.Elizabeth Ann Bartlett - 1989 - Hypatia 4 (1):175-180.
  8. Healing Identities: Black Feminist Thought and the Politics of Groups.Cynthia Burack - 2005 - Cornell University Press.
    Psychoanalysis, race, and racism -- From psychoanalysis to political theory -- Reparative group leadership -- Conflict and authenticity -- Bonding and solidarity -- Coalitions and reparative politics.
  9. The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory.Anna Carastathis - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (5):304-314.
    In feminist theory, intersectionality has become the predominant way of conceptualizing the relation between systems of oppression which construct our multiple identities and our social locations in hierarchies of power and privilege. The aim of this essay is to clarify the origins of intersectionality as a metaphor, and its theorization as a provisional concept in Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw’s work, followed by its uptake and mainstreaming as a paradigm by feminist theorists in a period marked by its widespread and rather unquestioned--if, (...)
  10. Basements and Intersections.Anna Carastathis - 2013 - Hypatia 28 (4):698-715.
    In this paper, I revisit Kimberlé Crenshaw's argument in “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex” (1989) to recover a companion metaphor that has been largely forgotten in the “mainstreaming” of intersectionality in (white-dominated) feminist theory. In addition to the now-famous intersection metaphor, Crenshaw offers the basement metaphor to show how—by privileging monistic, mutually exclusive, and analogically constituted categories of “race” and “sex” tethered, respectively, to masculinity and whiteness—antidiscrimination law functions to reproduce social hierarchy, rather than to remedy it, denying (...)
  11. Bringing Bell Hooks to Japan.Cabell Charles - 2007 - Fenomenologia. Diálogos Possíveis Campinas: Alínea/Goiânia: Editora da Puc Goiás 7:89-99.
  12. Traditio: Feminists of Color and the Torn Virtues of Democratic Engagement.R. Coles - 2001 - Political Theory 29 (4):488-516.
  13. Book Review: Cynthia Burack. Healing Identities: Black Feminist Thought and the Politics of Groups. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2004. [REVIEW]Patricia Hill Collins - 2005 - Hypatia 20 (4):227-230.
  14. Learning From the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought.Patricia Hill Collins - 2004 - In Sandra G. Harding (ed.), The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. Routledge.
  15. Some Group Matters: Intersectionality, Situated Standpoints, and Black Feminist Thought.Patricia Hill Collins - 2003 - In Tommy Lee Lott & John P. Pittman (eds.), A Companion to African-American Philosophy. Blackwell.
  16. Fighting Words: Black Women and the Search for Justice.Patricia Hill Collins - 2001 - Hypatia 16 (2):91-93.
  17. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment.Patricia Hill Collins - 2000 - London: Routledge.
  18. It's All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation.Patricia Hill Collins - 1998 - Hypatia 13 (3):62 - 82.
    Intersectionality has attracted substantial scholarly attention in the 1990s. Rather than examining gender, race, class, and nation as distinctive social hierarchies, intersectionality examines how they mutually construct one another. I explore how the traditional family ideal functions as a privileged exemplar of intersectionality in the United States. Each of its six dimensions demonstrates specific connections between family as a gendered system of social organization, racial ideas and practices, and constructions of U.S. national identity.
  19. Defining Black Feminist Thought.Patricia Hill Collins - 1997 - In Linda J. Nicholson (ed.), The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory. Routledge.
  20. Transforming the Inner Circle: Dorothy Smith's Challenge to Sociological Theory.Patricia Hill Collins - 1992 - Sociological Theory 10 (1):73-80.
  21. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment.Patricia Hill Collins - 1991/2008 - Routledge.
    In Black Feminist Thought, Patricia Hill Collins explores the words and ideas of Black feminist intellectuals as well as those African-American women outside academe. She not only provides an interpretive framework for the work of such prominent Black feminist thinkers as Angela Davis, Alice Walker, and Audre Lorde, but she shows the importance of self-defined knowledge for group empowerment. In the tenth anniversary edition of this award-winning work, Patricia Hill Collins expands the basic arguments of the first edition by adding (...)
  22. Black Women and Motherhood.Patricia Hill Collins - 1991 - In Virginia Held (ed.), Justice and Care.
  23. Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.Kimberle Crenshaw - 1989 - The University of Chicago Legal Forum 140:139-167.
  24. Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.Kimberle Williams Crenshaw - 1991 - Stanford Law Review 43 (6):1241-99.
  25. The Fortune of Wells: Ida B. Wells-Barnett's Use of T. Thomas Fortune's Philosophy of Social Agitation as a Prolegomenon to Militant Civil Rights Activism. Curry - 2012 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 48 (4):456-482.
    Jesus Christ may be regarded as the chief spirit of agitation and innovation. He himself declared, “I come not to bring peace, but a sword.” One cannot delve seriously into the centuries of activism and scholarship against racism, Jim Crowism, and the terrorism of lynching without encountering the legacies of Timothy Thomas Fortune and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Black scholars from the 19th century to the present have been inspired by the sociological and economic works of Fortune and Wells. Scholars of (...)
  26. Whiteness and Feminism: Déjà Vu Discourses, What's Next?Blanche Radford Curry - 2004 - In George Yancy (ed.), What White Looks Like: African-American Philosophers on the Whiteness Question. Routledge.
  27. Convergences: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy.Maria del Guadalupe Davidson, Kathryn T. Gines & Donna-Dale L. Marcano (eds.) - 2010 - SUNY Press.
    A range of themes—race and gender, sexuality, otherness, sisterhood, and agency—run throughout this collection, and the chapters constitute a collective discourse at the intersection of Black feminist thought and continental philosophy, converging on a similar set of questions and concerns. These convergences are not random or forced, but are in many ways natural and necessary: the same issues of agency, identity, alienation, and power inevitably are addressed by both camps. Never before has a group of scholars worked together to examine (...)
  28. Convergences: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy.Maria Del Guadalupe Davidson, Kathryn T. Gines & Donna-Dale L. Marcano (eds.) - 2010 - State University of New York Press.
  29. The Adventure(s) of Blackness in Western Culture: An Epistolary Exchange on Old and New Identity Wars.Adrienne D. Davis & Robert S. Chang - manuscript
    Through a series of letters, Professors Robert Chang and Adrienne Davis examine the politics of positionality in law and literary criticism. They use the scholarly debates and conversations around critical race theory and feminist legal theory as a starting point to formulate some thoughts about Critical Race Feminism ("CRF") and its future. The authors use the epistolary form as a literary device to allow them to collaborate on this project while maintaining their own voices. Thus, the letters are not dated. (...)
  30. Black Feminist Thought.Angela Davis - 1993 - Teaching Philosophy 16 (4):351-353.
  31. Racialized Punishment and Prison Abolition.Angela Y. Davis - 2003 - In Tommy Lee Lott & John P. Pittman (eds.), A Companion to African-American Philosophy. Blackwell.
  32. Dialogue on Radicalism and the Left: Radicalism Today.Angela Y. Davis, Joy Ann James & Richard Curtis - 1998 - Radical Philosophy Review 1 (1):1-16.
  33. La Shayja Nana Asma'u y Los Orígenes Del Femenismo Islamo-Africano.Antonio de Diego González - 2012 - WebIslam.
    Este trabajo es una introducción a la vida y a la obra de una de las intelectuales musulmanas más importantes del siglo XIX, Nana Asma'u bint Fôdio. En él se analiza de forma post-colonial el contexto, la biografía y la obra de esta pensadora, y las implicaciones que tuvo para el feminismo islámico.
  34. “Thinking Familiar with the Interstitial”: An Introduction.Kristie Dotson - 2014 - Hypatia 29 (1):1-17.
    It's not that we haven't always been here, since there was a here. It is that the letters of our names have been scrambled when they were not totally erased, and our fingertips upon the handles of history have been called the random brushings of birds. (Lorde , ix) Because… [racialized peoples'] dehumanization has not been successful, conceiving of self and others and their exercise of themselves both against dehumanization and toward liberatory possibilities has meant living double lives backed up (...)
  35. Concrete Flowers: Contemplating the Profession of Philosophy.Kristie Dotson - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (2):403-409.
  36. In Search of Tanzania: Are Effective Epistemic Practices Sufficient for Just Epistemic Practices?Kristie Dotson - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (S1):52-64.
  37. Book Review: Traci C. West. Wounds of the Spirit: Black Women, Violence, and Resistance Ethics. New York: New York University Press, 1999. [REVIEW]Michele Dumont - 2003 - Hypatia 18 (3):229-232.
  38. Identity, Knowledge, and Toni Morrison's "Beloved": Questions About Understanding Racism.Susan E. Babbitt - 1994 - Hypatia 9 (3):1 - 18.
    In discussing Drucilla Cornell's remarks about Toni Morrison's Beloved, I consider epistemological questions raised by the acquiring of understanding of racism, particularly the deep-rooted racism embodied in social norms and values. I suggest that questions about understanding racism are, in part, questions about personal and political identities and that questions about personal and political identities are often, importantly, epistemological questions.
  39. Barbara Jordan: The Politics of Insertion and Accommodation.Mary Ellen Curtin - 2004 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 7 (4):279-303.
    Barbara Jordan (1936?1996), a formidable politician, won election to the Texas Senate (1966) and to the US Congress (1972). She became one of the most celebrated African?American politicians of the twentieth century, acclaimed both by white and black. Jordan was a voluntarist, viewing individuals as able to change the world through their own actions. She was committed to the American dream of inclusion, and also to the importance of positive ties to elites; to coping with the ?world as it is?, (...)
  40. A Black Feminist Statement.Black Feminism - 1995 - In Beverly Guy-Sheftal (ed.), Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought. The New Press.
  41. Theorizing Transformative Revolutionary Action.Make Fitts - 2011 - Clr James Journal 17 (1):112-132.
    bell hooks is one of the seminal feminist theoreticians whose body of work not only provides discursive understandings of intersectional modes of oppression, but also a conceptual roadmap for creating the material conditions that lead to social transformation. In this essay, I posit the formulation of a theory of transformative revolutionary action that comes out of hoolis' ruminations on the following concepts: marginality as a position and place of resistance, killing rage, revolutionary interdependency and the politics of sisterhood, and the (...)
  42. Bell Hooks' Engaged Pedagogy: A Transgressive Education for Critical Consciousness.Namulundah Florence - 1998 - Bergin & Garvey.
  43. Being a Black Woman Philosopher: Reflections on Founding the Collegium of Black Women Philosophers.Kathryn T. Gines - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (2):429-437.
    Although the American Philosophical Association has more than 11,000 members, there are still fewer than 125 Black philosophers in the United States, including fewer than thirty Black women holding a PhD in philosophy and working in a philosophy department in the academy.1The following is a “musing” about how I became one of them and how I have sought to create a positive philosophical space for all of us.
  44. Audre Lorde's (Nonessentialist) Lesbian Eros.Ruth Ginzberg - 1992 - Hypatia 7 (4):73 - 90.
    Audre Lorde reopened the question of the position of the erotic with respect to both knowledge and power in her 1983 essay "Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power." This is not a new question in the philosophical literature; it is a very old one. What is different about Audre Lorde's examination of Eros is that she starts with a decidedly lesbian conception of Eros, in marked contrast to other Western philosophers' work.
  45. Philosophy, Postcolonialism, African-American Feminism, and the Race for Theory.Namita Goswami - 2008 - Angelaki 13 (2):73 – 91.
  46. Blues Legacies and Black Feminism.Anthony Graybosch - 1998 - Newsletter of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy 26 (81):12-14.
  47. Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism by Patricia Hill Collins.Emily Grosholz - 2007 - Hypatia 22 (4):209-212.
  48. Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism (Review).Emily Grosholz - 2007 - Hypatia 22 (4):209-212.
  49. The Most Dangerous Place: Pro-Life Politics and the Rhetoric of Slavery.Lisa Guenther - 2012 - Postmodern Culture 22 (2).
    In recent years, comparisons between abortion and slavery have become increasingly common in American pro-life politics. Some have compared the struggle to extinguish abortion rights to the struggle to end slavery. Others have claimed that Roe v Wade is the Dred Scott of our time. Still others have argued that abortion is worse than slavery; it is a form of genocide. This paper tracks the abortion = slavery meme from Ronald Reagan to the current personhood movement, drawing on work by (...)
  50. The Ethics and Politics of Otherness: Negotiating Alterity and Racial Difference.Lisa Guenther - 2011 - philoSOPHIA: A Journal of Continental Feminism 1 (2):195-214.
    "In her essay "Choosing the Margin," bell hooks draws attention to the way uncritical celebrations of difference and otherness often act as an alibi for progressive politics. The recent proliferation of discourses on alterity, particularly with the growth of Levinas studies, makes hooks's critique all the more relevant for ethical and political theory today. To what extent has this emphasis on alterity affected the dynamics of philosophical and political life? Does it fall into the trap that hooks identifies here as (...)
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