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What Is Intersectionality? Part 1

Discussing the In Between in Genevieve Gaignard’s In Passing

“Passing has always been a survival strategy, it’s not about assimilation or conformity. In my daily life, passing is less of something that I seek out and more of something that’s given to me,” writes Genevieve Gaignard in the Fall 2017 issue of spot magazine. “There are a lot of assumptions of what Blackness should look like.”

Gaignard’s photographs point to a structure of identification and social acceptance that is inherently tied to the ways in which we present ourselves in the world through narrow categories outlined by the dominant culture: male, female, black, white, for instance. But, what does it mean to exist at the intersection of multiple identities, and how does an existence at that intersection shape how we navigate the world – and in turn, how the world treats us? This interdisciplinary panel discussion will provide an introduction to the topics of passing and intersectionality and will approach them through issues of representation, sculpture, and performance, as seen through Gaignard’s work. In addition to the artist, the other panelists range from diverse academic discourses and include Dr. Jenifer Bratter, Director of Program for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Culture (PSERC), Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of Sociology at Rice University, Dr. Sheila Katz, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Houston, and Dr. Natilee Harren, Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Houston.

The panel will be moderated by Ashlyn Davis, Executive Director.


Genevieve Gaignard

Dr. Jenifer Bratter

Dr. Sheila Katz