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NOW Now: Intersectional Feminisms from the 1960s to the Present - ENG00027C

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Hannah Roche
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

What do we mean when we talk about intersectionality? Law professor and critical race theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw, who coined the term in 1989, explains that ‘intersectionality isn’t so much a grand theory: it’s a prism for understanding certain kinds of problems’.

This module applies the prism of intersectionality to feminist ideologies and texts from the 1960s to the present day. Beginning with North America’s National Organization for Women (NOW), we will chart the ways in which Black, LGBTQ+, and working-class activists forced key feminist movements – which initially privileged certain identities and experiences over others – to become increasingly inclusive and diverse. Why was writer and activist Rita Mae Brown ‘thrown out’ of NOW after she demanded attention to social issues affecting lesbians, women of colour, and those with different accents? How does the multilingual, hybrid satire of Fran Ross interrogate the essentialisms of ‘blackness’ and ‘woman’ inherent in the Black Power movement and Women’s Lib? How are contemporary writers working in the wake of, but also building on, reframing, or resisting, the legacies of this work? Are we, as Jennifer Nash ponders, post-intersectionality?

To quote Crenshaw, this module will show why identity is ‘not a self-contained unit: it is a relationship between people in history, and people in communities’.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

The aim of this module is to explore intersectional feminism, its critical vocabularies, and negotiations with post-1960s literary culture.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of and engagement with intersectional feminism;
  2. Engage with comparative and interdisciplinary approaches, relevant critical vocabulary and contexts, including ideas of feminism, class, race, and sexuality in literary works;
  3. Successfully manage a collaborative project, making use of digital tools where appropriate.
  4. Deliver a presentation, demonstrating appropriate oral, written, performance, and/or digital skills.


Task Length % of module mark
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Team Presentation
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Team Presentation
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is provided in a pedagogical spirit, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you would like to discuss your feedback, please consult your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours.

Indicative reading

Key texts may include:

Fran Ross, Oreo (1974)

Rita Mae Brown, In Her Day (1976)

Barbara Smith, Akasha Gloria Hull, Patricia Bell Scott eds. All the Women are White, All the Blacks are Men, But Some of Us are Brave: Black Women’s Studies (1982)

Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983)

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, ‘Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses’. Feminist Review 30 (1988): 61-88

Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider (1984)

Karla Jay, Tales of the Lavender Menace: A Memoir of Liberation (1999)

Cristina Garza Rivera, The Iliac Crest (2002)

Mary Dore (dir.), She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014)

Kimberlé Crenshaw, On Intersectionality: Essential Writings (2017)

Jennifer Nash, Black Feminism Reimagined: After Intersectionality (2018)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.