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This project uncovers the ways in which activists in the US have historically mobilised gendered and racialised identities and worked to develop oppositional consciousness in the service of racial justice and anti-imperialist efforts. My work is interdisciplinary, encompassing feminist, sociological and philosophical theories alongside historical methodologies. By exploring three significant post-war, US social movements – women’s liberation and gay liberation movements alongside Black Power – my doctoral research accounted for the rise of anti-racism trainings within both leftist social movements and the wider US public.
In other research projects, I have traced the shifting relationship between feminism, gender and anti-war efforts; recovered anti-racist feminisms obscured in contemporary historiography; and raised questions about the relationships amongst various sources of knowledge on race. My on-going and future research projects are characterised by the historical study of gendered and racial knowledges and the impact of this thought on social, political and cultural life in the US.
My research has implications for a number of important contemporary debates: the efficacy of particular anti-racist and feminist methods, the shifting importance of social movements on political and social life in the US, and the extent to which dominant racial and gendered thinking in the US evolved throughout the twentieth century. It also poses great potential for public engagement and knowledge exchanges, especially with feminist and racial justice practitioners in the third sector, educators at high school and college level, and local, regional and international campaigners.
Say has also helped to launch the White Spaces Network, an international interdisciplinary network of scholars, activists, students and practitioners who share an interest in issues of whiteness in the context of global racialised power dynamics.