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Collins, Patricia Hill, , . A Black women’s standpoint
1995, In Beverly Guy-Sheftal (ed.), Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought. The New Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Corbin Covington

Publisher’s Note: The first major anthology to trace the development, from the early 1800s to the present, of black feminist thought in the United States, Words of Fire is Beverly Guy-Sheftall’s comprehensive collection of writings, in the feminist tradition, of more than sixty African American women. From the pioneering work of abolitionist Maria Miller Stewart and anti-lynching crusader Ida Wells-Barnett to the writings of contemporary feminist critics Michele Wallace and bell hooks, black women have been writing about the multiple jeopardies–racism, sexism, and classicm–that have made it imperative for them to forge a brand of feminism uniquely their own.

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Collins, Patricia Hill, , . Black Feminist Epistemology
2007, In Craig J. Calhoun (ed.), Contemporary Sociological Theory. Blackwell. pp. 327.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Corbin Covington

Abstract: US black feminist thought reflects the interests and standpoint of its creators. Indeed, White men have control over knowledge. And, Black women’s ideas have been controlled by White men interpretation of the world. This means that Black feminist thought can best be viewed as subjugated knowledge.

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Collins, Patricia Hill, , . Defining black feminist thought
1997, In Linda J. Nicholson (ed.), The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory. Routledge.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Corbin Covington

Introduction: … A definition of Black feminist thought is needed that avoids the materialist position that being Black and/or female generates certain experiences that automatically determine variants of a Black and/or feminist consciousness. Claims that Black feminist thought is the exclusive province of African-American women, regardless of the experiences and worldview of such women, typify this position. But a definition of Black feminist thought must also avoid the idealist position that ideas cna be evaluated in isolation from the groups that create them. Definitions claiming that anyone can produce and develop Black feminist thought risk obscuring the special angle of vision that Black women bring to the knowldege production process.

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Collins, Patricia Hill, , . It’s All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation
1998, Hypatia 13 (3):62 – 82.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Corbin Covington

Abstract: 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

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Collins, Patricia Hill, , . Learning from the outsider within: The sociological significance of black feminist thought
2004, In Sandra G. Harding (ed.), The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. Routledge.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Corbin Covington

Abstract: Black women have long occupied marginal positions in academic settings. I argue that many Black female intellectuals have made creative use of their marginality their “outsider within ” status-to produce Black feminist thought that reflects a special standpoint on self family, and society. I describe and explore the sociological significance of three characteristic themes in such thought: (1) Black women’s self-definition and self-valuation; (2) the interlocking nature of oppression; and (3) the importance of Afro-American women’s culture. After considering how Black women might draw upon these key themes as outsiders within to generate a distinctive standpoint on existing sociological paradigms, I conclude by suggesting that other sociologists would also benefit by placing greater trust in the creative potential of their own personal and cultural biographies.

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Collins, Patricia Hill, , . Some group matters: Intersectionality, situated standpoints, and Black feminist thought
2003, In Tommy Lee Lott & John P. Pittman (eds.), A Companion to African-American Philosophy. Blackwell.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Corbin Covington

Abstract: In developing a Black feminist praxis, standpoint theory has provided one important source of analytical guidance and intellectual legitimation for African-American women. Standpoint theory argues that group location in hierarchical power relations produces shared challenges for individuals in those groups. These common challenges can foster similar angles of vision leading to a group knowledge or standpoint that in turn can influence the group’s political action. Stated differently, group standpoints are situated in unjust power relations, reflect those power relations, and help shape them. I suspect that one reason that the ideas of standpoint theory (in contrast to the vocabulary deployed by standpoint theorists, including the term standpoint theory itself ) resonate with African-American women’s experiences lies in the resemblance of stand- point theory to the norm of racial solidarity. Created in response to institutionalized racism and associated with Black nationalist responses to such oppression (see, e.g., Franklin 1992; Van Deburg 1992), racial solidarity within Black civil society requires that African-Americans stick together at all costs. The civil rights and Black Power movements certainly demonstrated the effectiveness of Black politics grounded in racial solidarity. In the former, racial solidarity among African-Americans lay at the center of a multiracial civil rights effort. In the latter, racial solidarity was expressed primarily through all-Black organizations. Collectively, these movements delivered tangible politi- cal and economic gains for African-Americans as a group (but not for all members within the group). Differences could be expressed within the boundaries of Blackness but not across those same boundaries. In this sense, the notion of a Black women’s standpoint gains meaning in the context of a shared Black consciousness dedicated to sustaining racial solidarity. Notions of racial solidarity and a shared Black women’s standpoint both invoke explicitly political objectives. Just as adhering to racial solidar- ity was important for Black emancipation in the United States, so might a collective Black women’s standpoint be seen as essential for Black feminist praxis. Since Black women, like African-Americans overall, are oppressed as a group, collective as com- pared to individualized strategies remain important. Much has happened since the 1970s. Depending on their placement in hierarchies of age, gender, economic class, region of the country, and sexuality, African-American women encounter new challenges associated with the new politics of containment in the United States. These changes require fresh ideas that analyze the complexities of contemporary lived Black experience and suggest adequate political responses to them. The intellectual climate currently housing Black feminist thought has also changed. In academic contexts influenced by postmodern rubrics of decentering, deconstruction, and difference, the norm of racial solidarity itself has come under increasing attack. Within Black cultural studies in particular, critiques now stress how racial solidarity has far too often been constructed on the bedrock of racial authenticity and essential- ism (see, e.g., Dyson 1993; West 1993; and Collins 1998c, 83), leading some to empha- size the pitfalls of unquestioned racial solidarity for African-American women (Grant 1982; Terrelonge 1984; Richie 1996). Academic feminism in North America takes aim at similar targets. Whereas Black academics question the utility of racial solidarity in addressing social issues of lived Black experience, feminist theorists increasingly criticize standpoint theory on theoretical grounds (Hekman 1997). Collectively, many Black and/or feminist academics question the assumptions that underlie solidarities of all sorts. This has great implication for Black feminist praxis generally, and a Black women’s standpoint situated in unjust power relations in particular. Given these shifting patterns, the situated standpoints that Black women collectively construct, and even the question of whether African-American women self-define as a group, become vitally important. In historical contexts in which racial segregation more visibly organized geographic, symbolic, and political space assigned to African- Americans, the links between a group’s common positionality in power relations, the shared experiences that accompanied this commonality, the mechanisms for con- structing group standpoints, and the significance of group standpoints for political activism were fairly straightforward. Under the changed conditions that accompany the new politics of containment, however, these links are neither clear nor assumed. Despite the historical significance of the ideas of standpoint theory to African- American women, questions remain concerning the efficacy of group-based identities of this sort for contemporary political struggles. In situations in which increasingly sophisticated practices, such as controlling populations through constant surveillance (Foucault 1979), as well as strategies of everyday racism (Essed 1991) and symbolic racism (Jhally and Lewis 1992), obscure the continued effects of institutionalized injus- tices of all sorts, political theories that seem to advocate pulling together and storming the factory gates can seem simplistic. Moreover, the decreasing effectiveness of an identity politics currently associated with standpoint theory raises questions of its continued relevance (see Collins 1998c, 44-76). Are group-based identities that emerge from standpoint theory and the politics they generate still empowering for African-American women? Do group-based identities such as those advocated by stand- point theory ultimately disempower African-American women because they unduly suppress differences and heterogeneity among Black women? Quite simply, in what ways, if any, does standpoint theory remain relevant for Black feminist thought?

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Davidson, Maria Del Guadalupe, Kathryn Sophia Belle (formerly known as Kathryn T. Gines), Marcano, Donna-Dale L. (eds). Convergences: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy
2010, State University of New York Press.
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Publisher’s Note: 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 the resources these two traditions can offer one another. By bringing the relationship between these two critical fields of thought to the forefront, the book will encourage scholars to engage in new dialogues about how each can inform the other. If contemporary philosophy is troubled by the fact that it can be too limited, too closed, too white, too male, then this groundbreaking book confronts and challenges these problems.

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Davis, Angela, , . Women, Race and Class
1981, New York: Vintage
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Publisher’s Note: A powerful study of the women’s liberation movement in the U.S., from abolitionist days to the present, that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders. From the widely revered and legendary political activist and scholar Angela Davis.

Comment: This text would be useful for courses which touch upon Black Feminism, intersectionality, Slavery or the history of feminism.

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James, V. Denise, , . Musing: A Black Feminist Philosopher: Is that Possible?
2014, Hypatia 29(1): 189-195.
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Added by: Helen Morley, Contributed by:

Summary: The author argues that black feminist philosophy exists, but “it exists elsewhere in other spaces, on the pages of journals that professional philosophers do not read, in the contexts of conferences where professional philosophers do not go”.

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