In 1851, Sojourner Truth delivered her now iconic speech ‘Ain't I a Woman?’ at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. Truth's speech is one of the earliest recorded instances of intersectionality. She demanded the recognition of Black women as women and demonstrated how being positioned at the intersection of race and gender constitutes a double jeopardy which undermines Black women's claims to justice and equality.
In 2018, Black women are still making remarkably similar claims for recognition and respect as women. In this talk, Akwugo Emejulu draws on the work of Black radical theorists such as Saidiya Hartman, Hortense Spillers, Stefano Harney, Fred Moten and Tina Campt to explore the impossibility of Black women's claims to and inclusion in ‘womanhood’, and examines the implications this has for contemporary Black feminist politics. Akwugo Emejulu argues that Black feminism is fundamentally destabilised by these analyses but can be reconstructed through different ontological and affective relations of the self, which she names ‘fugitive feminism.’