Category Archives: Criticism & Theory

Intersectionality and American Universities

His talk was shut down by organized chanting in its original venue, and disrupted when it was shifted to a nearby room and livestreamed. When Murray and his faculty interlocutor, Allison Stanger, then left to go to their car, they were surrounded by a mob, which tried to stop them leaving the campus. Someone in the melee grabbed Stanger by the hair and twisted her neck so badly she had to go to the emergency room (she is still suffering from a concussion). After they escaped, their dinner at a local restaurant was crashed by the same mob, and they had to go out of town to eat.

This event, described in The Daily Intelligencer, was clearly more controversial than most of those held in Dutch universities! The Intelligencer article explains the students’ reactions in terms of intersectionality, a theory that focuses on the interconnectedness of forms of discrimination. Although the term and the actions it has inspired are fairly recent, literary theory has for a long time insisted that, for example, feminist analyses of texts should take account of, for example, the interlocking differences of class, colour, and sexuality. A quick internet search will throw up all sorts of pro- and anti-intersectionality opinions, along with links to

See the opinion piece in The New Statesman.

Interview with Kimberlé Crenshaw, who first formulated intersectionality (The New Statesman).

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A face for radio – the attack on Mary Beard

Last year there was criticism of a TV documentary by Prof. Mary Beard OBE (University of Cambridge), not because it was incorrect (she is an acknowledged expert in her field), not because she was boring (she has done a lot to make Classics accessible outside academia), but because she was not pretty enough.

In a recent lecture sponsored by The London Review of Books Beard argues that ‘women who claim a public voice “get treated as freakish androgynes”‘.

It's Rome, it's Professor Mary Beard!
It’s Rome, it’s Professor Mary Beard! (Photo credit: tristanf)
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Unnatural Narratology – Lecture, May 16th

The following lecture is being run by the department of Arts, Culture and Media and will be of interest to students of English. I warmly encourage you to attend as Prof. Richardson could just have easily come to give a lecture to the English department.

On May 16 Prof. Brian Richardson (University of Maryland, USA) will be giving a master class followed by a lecture.

  • May 16, 9:00-11:00. Turftorenstraat 21, Room 10: Richardson will lead a seminar focusing on the theory and practice of “unnatural” narratology. For more information and to sign up for the seminar, please write to m.caracciolo@rug.nl. We will provide the reading materials suggested by Richardson.
  • May 16, 16:00-18:00. Broerstraat 9, room A900: Richardson will deliver a lecture entitled The Fate of Misreading in Modern Fiction. All interested students and staff members are welcome.

Since the 1990s Richardson has been one of the leading scholars in literary narratology. He has published widely influential books such as Unnatural Voices: Extreme Narration in Modern and Contemporary Fiction (Ohio State University Press, 2006) and the edited volume Narrative Beginnings: Theories and Practices (University of Nebraska Press, 2008).