2015 Eddie Bruce-Jones

Annual Lecture 2015 ‘Intersectional Approaches and Anti-essentialist Pedagogy: Some Reflections on Law Teaching’

Speaker: Eddie Bruce-Jones (School of Law, Birkbeck)

Respondent: Yasmeen Narayan (Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck) 

18 May 2015, hosted by the Birkbeck Critical Pedagogies Reading Group

A podcast of this lecture is available.

About the lecture

Teaching law in a reflective, critical and anti-essentialist way is anything but straight-forward. It involves using a range of mutually informing and, at times, seemingly contradictory approaches. Reconciling these various approaches is a perpetual process that is essential for critical engagement with law as a discipline, set of rules, and system of knowledge practices. In legal academia, questions about legality are followed closely by questions regarding the morality of legal rules, the construction of the legal subject, and the nature of law itself. All of these questions need to be in the purview of legal learning and teaching if it is to be committed to anti-essentialism, and intersectionality is a pivotal mode of analysis for engaging these questions. This paper seeks to illustrate the continued importance of intersectional analysis in legal education, specifically in the areas of equality law, human rights law and anti-racism lawyering. Intersectional analysis provides not only a useful lens for making visible the obscured epistemological and material positions of groups ‘at the intersection’, but also constitutes one of various approaches that must be discussed simultaneously if one is to rigorously investigate the potential for anti-essentialist modes of teaching and learning about law.

About Eddie Bruce-Jones

Eddie is a lecturer in law at Birkbeck, where he teaches courses on European Union law, migration law, equality law, state violence, legal anthropology and human rights.  His activism-led research includes work on deaths in police custody in the UK and Germany, comparative anti-discrimination law, and archival work on migration, diaspora & ancestral memory.  He is currently finishing a manuscript on Black-led legal activism in Germany, titled Race and Unruliness:  Legal Heresy and Anti-racist Praxis.  Eddie is an academic fellow at the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple and serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Race Relations and the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group.