Patricia Hill Collins asks that the production of knowledge be for some purpose; that is, for the overcoming of injustice and the movement towards the creation of better worlds. To this end, she argues that the collective traditions of what she brings together under the rubric of ‘Black Feminist Thought’ provide a more adequate basis for thinking about our contemporary conditions, how we arrived here, and how we might think of ways beyond these situations. Collins notes that the significance of Black feminist thought to the wider debates on the politics of knowledge production is twofold. First, it ‘fosters a fundamental paradigmatic shift in how we think about unjust power relations’ by highlighting the intersecting oppressions at the heart of relations of domination (2009: 291). Second, it ‘addresses ongoing epistemological debates concerning the power dynamics that underlie what counts as knowledge’ (2009: 292).
Collins, Patricia Hill 2009 . Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Routledge, London. [First published by Hyman in 1990]
Bhambra, Gurminder K. 2015. ‘Black thought matters: Patricia Hill Collins and the long tradition of African American sociology‘ Ethnic and Racial Studies 38 (13): 2315–2321
Collins, Patricia Hill 2010. ‘The New Politics of Community,’ American Sociological Review 75 (1), February: 7-30. Presidential Address to the American Sociological Association
Collins, Patricia Hill ‘Social Inequality, Power and Politics: Intersectionality and American Pragmatism in Dialogue‘ Journal of Speculative Philosophy 26 (2) 2012: 442-457
What is the significance of ‘Black’ within Collins’s understanding of Black Feminist Thought?
Discuss the importance of Collins’s work to the feminist tradition.
How does Collins’s build on and develop key sociological concepts? Pick two.
What is the relationship between activism and knowledge for Collins?
Submitted by Gurminder K Bhambra