Defining Intersectionality with Corey Wrenn – ASI’s Defining Human-Animal Studies 04


[Music] My name is Dr. Corey Wrenn. I am a
professor of sociology and the director of gender studies at Monmouth University.
The concept I’m going to be explaining today is intersectionality. So
intersectionality is a concept, or a theory, or perspective that comes out of
black feminist thought. And it emerged out of this understanding that
mainstream theories of inequality really compartmentalized inequality. So
really focused on class, really focused on gender, really focused on race. But
in the real world identities don’t work so compartmentalized. They actually are
intersecting. So, for instance, mainstream theories about race. Looking just at race,
and just looking at white supremacy as a system, are gonna not really deal with
the fact that there are some people who experience race differently based on
their gender, their ability, their class, their nationality, their sexuality. So we
can’t just talk about race without also thinking about how these other
identities will be intersecting at all different ways. You can’t just turn one
off and just look at the other, in other words. It’s not how the real world, world
works. So when we look at intersectionality from a vegan feminist
perspective, we’re also introducing the notion that species intersects with race,
class, gender, and other identity categories. So what happens, in two
respects this is interesting. What happens is that animals can also
experience their world differently based on gender that’s been imposed on them,
racial categorizations that have been imposed on them. So, for instance, in the
food system female-bodied animals are more likely to be exploited because
they’re able to produce breast milk, eggs, and babies. And we can also look at how
race can intersect with a species’ experience in life if they’ve been
racialized. So, for instance, pit bulls have been heavily racialized. And so we
see really punitive and often lethal attempts to control pitbulls.
But on the other hand it’s not simply that a non-human animal’s experience
through the life world is going to be intersected by their race, class, and
gender categories that have been imposed on them. But we also see that humans are
also going to have their life experiences be based on their animalization.
So women and people of color historically, even lower-class people,
have been, and people with disabilities, have all been animalized.
So when we’re thinking about, even for the mainstream theories that aren’t
really interested in animal studies, it really is foundational, this concept of
animalization, analyzing these groups of people foundational to their oppression.
So coming at it from an intersectional perspective we realize that we cannot
just look at race, class, gender. We also have to explore species as another
identity category. And then finally, something that’s imperative to
intersectional thought is not just identity categories, but also systems. So
we can’t just look at white supremacy. We also have to be looking at patriarchy. We
also have to be looking at capitalism. We also have to be looking at human
supremacy. All these systems are interlocking and working at once. It’s
not just like Tuesday is patriarchy day, Wednesday is white supremacy day. These
are these are all interlocking and happening at once. And because
animalization, turning persons into animals, turning them into objects, turning them
into things, is something that’s happening across the board, we really
have to be thinking intersectionally in a way that also includes non-human
animals. I hope that that clears it up. Intersectionality as a perspective of
theory, a concept. And from a vegan feminist perspective, it is one that
includes non-human animals recognizing that animalization is really at the
foundation to all of our systems of inequality. And it really is at this,
at the base of all these identity formations as well. [Music]

2 thoughts on “Defining Intersectionality with Corey Wrenn – ASI’s Defining Human-Animal Studies 04

  1. Intersectionality. YES, very interesting explanation. If I understand it correctly, all oppressed groups "intersect". That is they all have or are suffering under the "system" of the white-patriarchy system. Therefore, human groups that have been exploited and oppressed based on race, gender, sexuality, etc. have a lot in common or "intersect" with non-human animals, who, by far, are the most exploited and oppressed group on earth. This is good to know, because this means that all the oppressed human groups should be vegan or become vegan as soon as possible, since they themselves are very sensitive to oppression and should feel the pain that farmed animals are experiencing. This is where the intersection comes in. I presume that the human "oppressed" groups have a much, much higher rate of veganism than the general population because they "feel" the pain of farmed animals. Right? If not, perhaps the Vegan Movement should concentrate on the "human oppressed groups" to lead the way toward a vegan world. Is this something the Intersectionalists promote? That is, lead by example and be vegan? Just a thought.

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