Is the formative concept of intersectionality an efficacious tool for achieving (gender) justice for marginalized constituencies or does it inadvertently consolidate the hegemony of an entitled majority by failing to realize the emancipatory possibilities it promises? This workshop focuses on the intersections of, but also the tensions between key categories like race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and caste from a transnational postcolonial-queer-feminist perspective. Participants will engage in particular with the relevance of intersectionality as a ‘travelling theory’ for the Global South as well as with the recent controversial debates in Germany on whether intersectional feminism foregrounds categories of race and gender over class and antisemitism.

María do Mar Castro Varela is professor of general education and social work at the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin. She holds a double degree in psychology and education and a doctorate in political science. This past winter, she was Sir Peter Ustinov Visiting Professor at the Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna. Her research areas are queer studies, postcolonial theory, critical migration and education studies, and conspiracy narratives. She is a founder of bildungsLab* (, chair of the Berlin Institute for Counterpunctual Social Analysis (BIKA e.V.), and principal investigator of the research project Digitaler Hass/Digital Hate (IFAF).

Nikita Dhawan is professor of political theory and history of ideas at the Technische Universität Dresden. Her research focuses on global justice, human rights, democracy, and decolonization. She received the Käthe Leichter Award in 2017 for outstanding achievements in the pursuit of women’s and gender studies and in support of the women’s movement and the achievement of gender equality. Selected publications include: Impossible Speech: On the Politics of Silence and Violence (2007); Difference That Makes No Difference: The Non-Performativity of Intersectionality and Diversity (ed., 2017); Rescuing the Enlightenment from the Europeans: Critical Theories of Decolonization (forthcoming).

In English

María do Mar Castro Varela
Nikita Dhawan

Organized by

An event of the Goethe-Institut in cooperation with ICI Berlin

As part of the Festival
Frequencies. Sharing Feminisms

From 19 to 21 May 2022, the Goethe-Institut is staging the interdisciplinary festival ‘Frequencies. Sharing Feminisms‘. Over three days, the festival will open up resonant spaces for feminist debates and movements – multiperspectival, intersectional and diverse – at the Pfefferberg area and the Sophiensaele in Berlin.

The term ‘frequencies’ represents the polyphony of feminisms. It encompasses the range of corresponding topics and concerns as well as the different feminist movements and waves. Discursive and artistic contributions by activists, authors, artists, media professionals, performers and academics from Africa, Asia, Europe and South America make this rich diversity tangible.

The festival aims to provide the debates on feminisms conducted in Germany and elsewhere with new perspectives, alliances and plans of action. The focus is on transcultural and intergenerational exchange as well as on raising awareness of the relevance of the topic for society as a whole.

KV Feminismus Workshop