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3- Urging Intersectionality, Avoiding Solidarity: Reading the Legacy of Riot Grrrl and Race - Karen Mize Berglander, Memorial University of Newfoundland

4:00 PM, Saturday 25 May 2019 (2 hours)
Guided tour "Montréal in jazz"   06:00 PM to 08:00 PM (2 hours)
This paper explores how the legacy of the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s reflects on the movement’s failure to handle issues of race, class, discrimination, and intersectionality and reads the movement’s legacy through the lens of Critical Race Theory. This is done by bringing the writings of Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Barbara Tomlinson, and Anna Carastathis into dialogue with each other and into conversation with scholarship on Riot Grrrl from the nineteen-nineties through to the twenty-teens, which approach the movement from ethnographic, autoethnographic, economic, and historiographical perspectives. I do this as part of an ongoing conversation within the realm of feminist activism as to the role of intersectionality and solidarity within the movement. I argue that whilst there are many positives to be found in the legacy Riot Grrrl, the movement’s failure to commit itself fully to intersectional, feminist solidarity, ultimately hamstrung its ability to effect societal change. I root this conclusion in Holly Lewis’s recent work on feminism, queer theory, and Marxism, which draws a clear link between the “denial of the formation of solidarities” and social movements like Riot Grrrl, whose roots in liberal pluralism inherently stagnates its transgressive power. I argue that in reading Riot Grrrl’s legacy in this critical way, in defiance of the utopian retrospectives often constructed around the movement, space for a needed dialogue around punk, feminism, and race can be created, allowing for a reengagement with Riot Grrrl’s activist roots, which still hold power as effective forces of change in the world.
Memorial University of Newfoundland
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