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Impossible Governance UK Launch

Working Across Difference: Theory Practice and Experience

Back in October 2015 I had the opportunity to chair the book launch for all three works discussed in this review essay. At the event, Shirley Anne Tate said, “Black feminist theory is the theory”. The comment referred to how it is not ‘just’ that Black feminist theory is typically marginalised within institutional contexts and academic scholarship, ‘even’ within critical, feminist and poststructural work, but also to highlight the capacity of Black feminist scholarship to unpick and destabilise the known and knowable in ways that are profoundly ontological, and which offer potential routes to meaningful social change through the hard task of working across difference. The three books reviewed here by Shirley Anne Tate, Suryia Nayak and Shona Hunter are theoretically rich and complex in breadth, scope and range, drawing on extensive Black feminist scholarship, as well as critical race, critical feminist, psychosocial, psychoanalytic, postcolonial, decolonial and poststructural approaches. Each book is embedded in everyday practices and social processes, offering multi-layered movement across different spatial-social and affective scales in ways that allow ‘big’ insights to emerge from the locatedness and particularity of human experience. They are reviewed in turn and some concluding comments identify important commonalities across the texts.