Diversity Speaker Series explores 'intersectionality'

The last installment of the 2017-18 Civil Discourse Symposium and Diversity Speaker Series is also one of the first IUPUI events at the historic Madam Walker Theatre Center since a new partnership with the downtown Indianapolis landmark was announced.

Kimberlé Crenshaw, distinguished professor of law at UCLA, will present "The Urgency of Intersectionality" at 6 p.m. tonight, April 5, at the Walker Theatre, 617 Indiana Ave. The event is free, but register to make sure you get a seat.

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UCLA law professor and author Kimberlé Crenshaw is the last guest for the 2017-18 Civil Discourse Symposium and Diversity Speaker Series. Photo provided by Kimberle Crenshaw

Alicia Morris, speaker series organizer and director of external relations and special projects for the IUPUI Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said the theater located just north of campus was the third location chosen for the event due to ticket demand. Crenshaw's lecture quickly outgrew the 250-seat Campus Center Theater, and it did the same for the 370-seat Hine Hall Auditorium. The Walker Theatre has 900 seats.

"We prefer our lectures to be on campus, but with the new partnership, the Walker Theatre will be great to use as an alternative space," Morris said.

The demand to attend Crenshaw's appearance is due to her decades of groundbreaking research and recent books she has written. Her latest publication was a co-authoring effort, "Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women." Crenshaw is a noted expert in the fields of civil rights, black feminist legal theory, race, racism and the law.

Crenshaw created the terms "critical race theory" and "intersectionality." Critical race theory examines society and culture as they relate to categorizations of race, law and power. Intersectionality is a theory of how overlapping social identities -- particularly minority identities -- relate to systems and structures of oppression, domination or discrimination. 

Morris said the event has received major interest from several IUPUI programs, which is a goal for the Diversity Speaker Series.

"We always look for a great speaker who will bring several areas together," Morris said.