Broadband epistemologies


  • Mel Y Chen University of California



epistemology, transdisciplinarity, feminism, intersectionality, animacy, sexuality


This recounting of early years of training in linguistics, queer theory and feminism around the time of the 1996 Berkeley Women and Language Conference examines the role of simultaneities and resonances in the formation of a critical, productive if still inchoate transdisciplinarity. Such a transdisciplinarity managed to thrive in and around institutional delimitations; it owed a great deal to the inevitability of tensions in the affective politics of scholarship, a somewhat underattended dimension of intellectual life in the university.

Ao revisitar anos iniciais de meus estudos em linguística, teoria queer e feminismo que ocorreram concomitantemente ao Berkeley Women and Language Conference de 1996, este artigo examina o papel de simultaneidades e ressonâncias na formação de uma transdisciplinaridade crítica e produtiva, embora rudimentar. Tal transdisciplinaridade vingou em e ao redor de delimitações institucionais; e deve muito à inevitabilidade das tensões na política afetiva da academia, uma dimensão pouco examinada da vida intelectual na universidade.

Author Biography

Mel Y Chen, University of California

Mel Y. Chen is Associate Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies and Director, Center for the Study of Sexual Culture at the University of California, Berkeley. Since Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (2012), their second book concerns intoxication’s involvement in archival histories of the interanimation of time, race and disability. Chen coedits a Duke book series ‘Anima’ and is part of a queer/trans of colour arts collective in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Chen, Mel Y. (2012) Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. DOI:

Crenshaw, Kimberlé (1989) Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: a Black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory, and antiracist politics. University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989(1): 139–167.

Crenshaw, Kimberlé (1991) Mapping the margins: intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review 43(6): 1241–1299. DOI:

Lakoff, Robin (1989) The way we were; or, the real actual truth about generative semantics: a memoir. Journal of Pragmatics 13(6): 939–988. DOI:

Livia, Anna and Hall, Kira (eds) (1997) Queerly Phrased: Language, Gender, and Sexuality. New York: Oxford University Press.



How to Cite

Chen, M. Y. (2021). Broadband epistemologies. Gender and Language, 15(3), 396–402.



Theme Series