Lykke, Nina. ‘Transversal Dialogues on Intersectionality, Socialist Feminism and Epistemologies of Ignorance’. (2020) [PDF]

Lykke, Nina. ‘Transversal Dialogues on Intersectionality, Socialist Feminism and Epistemologies of Ignorance’. NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, vol. 28, no. 3, Routledge, July 2020, pp. 197–210.

Through a personalized story, anchored in historical reflections on the formative years of feminist research in the Nordic context in the early 1970s, the article engages in transversal conversations. The focus is dissonances and resonances between intersectional feminisms and socialist feminisms, and their critiques of monocategorical (neo)liberal feminisms. The method is transversal dialoguing, implying that participants in politically conflicted conversations, shift between “rooting” (situating their own stakes along the lines of feminist epistemologies of situated knowledges) and “shifting” (seriously trying to imagine what it takes to inhabit the situated perspective of interlocutors). A starting point for the article’s transversal conversations is recent critiques of white feminist intersectionality research in Nordic and broader European contexts, claimed to neoliberalize and whitewash intersectionality. Shifting to the perspective of the critics, the author takes responsibility for her stakes in epistemologies of white ignorance. A historical reflection on her becoming a socialist feminist in the context of New Left students’ and feminist movements in Denmark in the aftermath of the students’ revolts of 1968 is used as prism to a discussion of socialist feminisms in the Nordic context in the 1970s, and their paradoxes of being attentive to class, while entangled in classic marxism’s eurocentrism and epistemologies of white ignorance. To dig further into the question of genealogies of leftwing epistemologies of ignorance, characterizing Nordic socialist feminism in the 1970s (and haunting European socialism more generally), the article critically rereads a piece of the authors’ research from the 1970s—an analysis of the work of socialist feminist, Alexandra Kollontaj, and her role in the Russian revolution. Rooting, the author suggests that the epistemologies of white ignorance in Nordic feminist research rather than emerging from monocategoricality and (neo) neoliberalism, as the critics suggest, should be sought after through a critical scrutiny of leftwing versions of eurocentrism.