The Contested Positioning of Black Women in the South African Academy: What Should Come First, Their Race or Their Gender?

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 4C KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Grace KHUNOU, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Black Women have always been marked as the other.  In post-apartheid South Africa the imbalances of race and gender have not disappeared they are instead re-appearing in new ways.  Black women’s exclusion is not institutionalized anymore however their experiences of the South African Academy illustrate experiences similar to those experienced during apartheid and colonialism.  Their professional ability is under constant scrutiny; they are forced to constantly proof themselves, they are mostly found in the lower levels of the academy, they are made exotic when in higher positions.  This paper goes further to interrogate how the intersections of race and gender for black women puts them in a difficult position, as fighting patriarchy means disunity with black men, whereas solely fighting racial oppression creates an internal discord’s as it is impossible to separate themselves from their personal issues as black women. The paper concludes by indicating that the intersectionality of race and class puts black women in a position where they are on their own, as they can’t choose to be black and not woman and woman and not black.