American civil rights activist and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw delivers the 22nd annual Douglas W Bryant Lecture
American Democracy in recent years has produced two improbable presidencies that have been framed as reflecting the essence of the American project. The breakthrough achievement of Barack Obama has been celebrated as the realisation of US exceptionalism with its deep commitment to egalitarianism while the ascendancy of Trump has been framed as the re-emergence of the country's primitive foundations in white supremacy.
Although some efforts to reconcile the rise of Trump in the shadow of Obama's historic victory have faulted identity politics for the erasure of class-based injuries and working class anger, these explanations have missed the mark. Through the lens of critical race theory and intersectionality, Crenshaw will link the post-racial politics surrounding the first African American president to the undercurrents of white nationalism and its renewed traction within mainstream politics. The current crisis reflects not only the premature closure of transformative discourses in political culture, but also the consequences of legal ideology that insulated raced and gendered expectations in a rapidly changing world.
Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law, UCLA and Columbia Law School, is a leading authority in the area of Civil Rights, Black feminist legal theory and race, racism and the law. Her work has been foundational in two fields of study that have come to be known by terms that she coined: Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. In 1996, she co-founded the African American Policy Forum to house a variety of projects designed to deliver research-based strategies to better advance social inclusion. Currently, Crenshaw is Director of the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS), Columbia Law School, which she founded in 2011, as well as the Centennial Professor, LSE Gender Institute 2015-2018.
The lecture is preceded by a wine reception open to all ticket holders from 18.15.
Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library