Jennifer Christine Nash

Jennifer Christine Nash

Assistant Professor of American Studies, Director of Women's Studies Program
Faculty: Assistant
Address: 609 22nd Street, NW
Phone: 202-994-6535

Areas of Expertise

Feminist theory; black feminism and black sexual politics; race and representation; race, gender and law


Nash's work focuses on black feminism, black sexual politics, race and visual culture, and race and law. She held fellowships at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research and at Columbia University's Society of Fellows. Her research has also been supported by GW's University Facilitating Fund and Columbian College Facilitating Fund, and by the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in Women's Studies and the Woodrow Wilson Junior Faculty Career Enhancement Fellowship.


Current Research

Nash's current book project, Black Feminism Remixed, examines the complex relationship between black feminism and women's studies.  The book’s point of departure is a paradox: women’s studies treats black feminism both as an out-dated practice in need of critical reformation and as the site of women’s studies most important theoretical innovations.  The project focuses on two sites which mark black feminism’s paradoxical relationship with women’s studies: pleasure and intersectionality.   Women’s studies scholarship often treats black feminism’s relationship to pleasure as antiquated because black feminists are thought to be invested in respectability, and in shielding the black female body from scrutiny, rather than in the imagined freedoms of sexual expression, performance, and play.  If pleasure is a site where black feminism is often located in the historical past, intersectionality - a theoretical innovation emerging from black feminism that captures how identity is constituted by the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality – is often celebrated as the future of women’s studies.  Indeed, myriad conferences and special issues of journals have been devoted to the virtues of intersectionality, and it is now commonplace that Women’s Studies programs and departments define themselves by a commitment to intersectional scholarship.  Her project uses these two sites to trace the contours of a moment where black feminism is positioned both as past and as future, as historical relic or as utopia, but never as part of the present moment.


A.B., Women's Studies, Harvard College, 2001
J.D., Harvard Law School, 2004
Ph.D., African American Studies, Harvard University, 2009



The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography (February 2014, Duke University Press)

Winner: Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize, GL/Q Caucus of the Modern Language Association, 2015.

Edited Book:

Love: Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks in Gender Studies, editor (New York: Macmillan, 2016).

Special Journal Issues:

“Institutional Feelings: Practicing Women’s Studies in the Corporate University,” co-edited with Emily A. Owens, Feminist Formations 27.3 (December 2015)


“Unwidowing: Rachel Jeantel, Black Death, and the ‘Problem’ of Black Intimacy.” Signs (forthcoming, Summer 2016)

"Feminist Originalism: Intersectionality and the Politics of Reading" Feminist Theory  (forthcoming)

"Desiring Desiree." From Porno Chic to the Sex Wars, Carolyn Bronstein and Whitney Strub, eds. (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2015). 

“Black Anality.”  GLQ 20.4 (2014): 467-488

“Institutionalizing the Margins.” Social Text 118 (2014): 45-65. 

“Theorizing Race, Theorizing Racism: New Directions in Interdisciplinary Scholarship.” Ashgate Research Companion to Feminist Legal Theory, Margaret Davies and Vanessa Munro, eds. (London: Ashgate Press, 2013), 125-138.

"Practicing Love: Black Feminism, Love Politics, and Post-Intersectionality.”  Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 11.2 (2013): 1-24.

“New Directions in Black Feminist Studies (Review Essay).” Feminist Studies 38.2 (2012): 463-471.

“‘Hometruths’ on Intersectionality.” Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 23.3 (2011): 455-470.

“On Difficulty: Intersectionality as Feminist Labor.” Scholar and Feminist 8.3 (Summer 2010).

“Un-disciplining Intersectionality (Review Essay).”  International Feminist Journal of Politics 11.4 (2009): 587-593.

“Strange Bedfellows: Black Feminism and Anti-Pornography Feminism.” Social Text 97 (2008): 51-76.

“Re-thinking Intersectionality.”  Feminist Review 89 (2008): 1-15.

“Bearing Witness to Ghosts: Notes on Theorizing Pornography, Race, and Law.” Wisconsin Women’s Law Journal 21 (2006): 47-72.

“From Lavender to Purple: Privacy, Black Women, and Feminist Legal Theory.”  Cardozo Women’s Law Journal 11 (2005): 303-330.

Classes Taught

Race, Gender and Law (undergraduate)
Varieties of Feminist Theory (undergraduate)
Interracial America (undergraduate)
Critical Race Theory (graduate)
Race, Gender and Popular Culture (graduate)
Theory and Emotions (graduate)
Contemporary Feminist Theory (graduate)

Books by Jen Nash

The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography

The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography