The State of Feminism: Post-Election Race and Gender Analysis

Laura Flanders '85 and Patricia Williams

BCRW’s 2008 “Scholar and Feminist” Conference examined the state of democracy, and now that the election results are in and a new President has just been inaugurated, we turn to the state of feminism in the aftermath of the election. There is no question that the results of the 2008 U.S. presidential election were monumental. For the first time in the nation’s history, an African-American man has been elected to the highest political office in the country. The presidential campaigns themselves were also full of other important milestones in the fight for truly diverse political representation. Hillary Clinton obtained over 18 million votes in the Democratic primaries, and for the second time a woman was chosen as the Vice Presidential candidate for a major political party. Now that the dust has settled from last November’s election, it is time for feminist scholars and activists to regroup and begin a conversation about the impact of these events and the changes they represent. Have the politics of civil rights changed fundamentally? At all? Has the meaning of feminism broadened? Or narrowed? Will these changes set the stage for future movement toward justice in the United States? To lead us in a conversation about what occurred, as well as to discuss future political alliances, possibilities, and risks, we have invited Patricia J. Williams, renowned legal scholar and expert on race in the U.S., to join Laura Flanders, Barnard alumna and feminist activist and journalist.

Laura Flanders is host of “GRITtv,” a daily, news, discussion and take-action program seen on Free Speech TV, and of “RadioNation,” the nationally-syndicated weekly radio program of The Nation Magazine.

Patricia J. Williams is professor of law at Columbia University, and author of numerous books, including the critically acclaimed The Alchemy of Race & Rights.