How are feminisms in different parts of the world, and as espoused by different subjects, historically constructed, and how have they intersected and debated with one another? How do the histories of colonialism, race, sexuality, postcolonial nationhood and global capital shape these intersections and debates? In the academy, we often pay lip service to the idea of “differences” among women, and to such histories, and yet forget that (as Heidi Tinsman puts it), “what constitutes useful categories of feminist analysis is a matter of geopolitics rather than epistemological catch-up.” This course provides an opportunity to read and think about such debates, categories, histories and contemporary global relations, in order to discuss three key issues: identity, agency and social justice.
We cannot cover all parts of the world, but will consider representative writings that range over questions of racial, religious and ethnic difference, “third world” women in the West, and feminist developments within the global South. Because of our location, we will concentrate on materials that tend to be less visible in the US academy, although we begin with the work of Black feminists in the US and Britain, and will regularly engage with scholars and activists working in the West. I will welcome your engagement with other spaces and histories in your work.