43 Stan. L. Rev. 1241 (1990-1991)
Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color

handle is hein.journals/stflr43 and id is 1257 raw text is: Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality,
Identity Politics, and Violence Against
Women of Color
Kimberle Crenshaw*
INTRODUCTION
Over the last two decades, women have organized against the almost
routine violence that shapes their lives.' Drawing from the strength of
shared experience, women have recognized that the political demands of mil-
lions speak more powerfully than the pleas of a few isolated voices. This
politicization in turn has transformed the way we understand violence
against women. For example, battering and rape, once seen as private (fam-
ily matters) and aberrational (errant sexual aggression), are now largely rec-
ognized as part of a broad-scale system of domination that affects women as
a class.2 This process of recognizing as social and systemic what was for-
*  1993 by Kimberle Crenshaw. Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles.
B.A. Cornell University, 1981; J.D. Harvard Law School, 1984; LL.M. University of Wisconsin,
1985.
I am indebted to a great many people who have pushed this project along. For their kind assist-
ance in facilitating my field research for this article, I wish to thank Maria Blanco, Margaret Cam-
brick, Joan Creer, Estelle Cheung, Nilda Rimonte and Fred Smith. I benefitted from the comments
of Taunya Banks, Mark Barenberg, Darcy Calkins, Adrienne Davis, Gina Dent, Brent Edwards,
Paul Gewirtz, Lani Guinier, Neil Gotanda, Joel Handler, Duncan Kennedy, Henry Monaghan, Eliz-
abeth Schneider and Kendall Thomas. A very special thanks goes to Gary Peller and Richard Yar-
borough. Jayne Lee, Paula Puryear, Yancy Garrido, Eugenia Gifford and Leti Volpp provided
valuable research assistance. I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Academic Senate of
UCLA, Center for Afro-American Studies at UCLA, the Reed Foundation and Columbia Law
School. Earlier versions of this article were presented to the Critical Race Theory Workshop and the
Yale Legal Theory Workshop.
This article is dedicated to the memory of Denise Carty-Bennia and Mary Joe Frug.
1. Feminist academics and activists have played a central role in forwarding an ideological and
institutional challenge to the practices that condone and perpetuate violence against women. See
generally SUSAN BROWNMILLER, AGAINST OUR WILL: MEN, WOMEN AND RAPE (1975);
LORENNE M.G. CLARK & DEBRA J. LEWIS, RAPE: THE PRICE OF COERCIVE SEXUALITY (1977);
R. EMERSON DOBASH & RUSSELL DOBASH, VIOLENCE AGAINST WIVES: A CASE AGAINST THE
PATRIARCHY (1979); NANCY GAGER & CATHLEEN SCHURR, SEXUAL ASSAULT: CONFRONTING
RAPE IN AMERICA (1976); DIANA E.H. RUSSELL, THE POLITICS OF RAPE: THE VICTIM'S PER-
SPECTIVE (1974); ELIZABETH ANNE STANKO, INTIMATE INTRUSIONS: WOMEN'S EXPERIENCE OF
MALE VIOLENCE (1985); LENORE E. WALKER, TERRIFYING LOVE: WHY BATTERED WOMEN
KILL AND How SOCIETY RESPONDS (1989); LENORE E. WALKER, THE BATTERED WOMAN SYN-
DROME (1984); LENORE E. WALKER, THE BATTERED WOMAN (1979).
2. See, e.g., SUSAN SCHECHTER, WOMEN AND MALE VIOLENCE: THE VISIONS AND STRUG-
GLES OF THE BATTERED WOMEN'S MOVEMENT (1982) (arguing that battering is a means of main-
taining women's subordinate position); S. BROWNMILLER, supra note 1 (arguing that rape is a

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