Akwugo Emejulu on Moral Subjects in White Spaces


Akwugo Emejulu on Moral Subjects in White Spaces

The Hall

A Weekly Lecture about the impossibilities of intersectional solidarity.


This talk explores the challenges faced by women of color activists in building and maintaining intersectional solidarity across six European cities: Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, and Paris. Activists mobilize in predominantly white spaces to advocate for causes such as anti-austerity, anti-far-right, and migrant rights, but often face a lack of intersectional solidarity. Practical demands for intersectional recognition, which take into account race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, and legal status as both a political analysis for understanding a particular grievance and as a viable strategy for collective action, are often misunderstood by white comrades as an emotional plea for comfort and care. Women of color's demands and their presence in these spaces are often perceived as a threat to the white activists' fantasies, which position themselves and other white groups as the eternal moral subject and agent of their activism. However, these supposed radical struggles often fail to address white supremacy. Solidarity is an impossible necessity for women of color activists, given that their white comrades may not fully understand or represent their interests. However, it is important to strive for solidarity despite these challenges. This is particularly challenging in the context of a cost of living crisis and the far-right emergency.


Akwugo Emejulu is a Fellow at THE NEW INSTITUTE and is involved in the program 'Black Feminism and the Polycrisis'. She also serves as the Chair of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. Prior to her academic career, she worked as a community organizer, trade union organizer, and participatory action researcher. As a political sociologist, her research interests include racial, gender, and class inequalities in Europe, as well as women of color's intersectional activism for justice.

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