Funtig on metaphors of intersectionality

After a short break in the action, newly bolstered by additional snacks and coffee, at 1045 we reconvened for Michael Funtig’s talk “Metaphors of Intersectionality.” Michael’s talk takes up the use of metaphor in contemporary feminist philosophy. He looked specifically at different uses of metaphor in connection with the concept of intersectionality, discussing Crenshaw’s traffic intersection, Ann Garry’s roundabout and more complicated mountain/liquids/roundabout metaphor, Anna Carastathis’ use of Crenshaw’s basement metaphor, and Lugones’ curdled mayonnaise metaphor. Discussing each of these metaphors for intersectionality, Funtig suggests we can glean from them criteria for successful use of metaphor as a clarificatory tool. IMG_1370

Kathy Behrendt asked Michael about the limitations of metaphor, noting that there seemed to be a lot of nonmetaphorical aspects here, some examples sounding more like allegory. Renato Cristi asked Michael whom the metaphors were addressed to? He worried especially that the basement metaphor sounds like a ‘terrible’ metaphor if addressed to those at the bottom of basement, as it seems to suggest a lack of agency altogether. Rebekah Johnston asked a tricky question about what metaphors of intersectionality were aiming to capture, given that intersectionality isn’t itself a theory. And Rusin wanted to know whether Funtig’s criteria pulled in contradictory directions–simplicity and comprehensiveness are notoriously difficult companions, so which takes priority as an evaluative criterion?

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