Producing Inclusive Feminist Knowledge: Positionalities and Discourses in the Global South: Volume 31

Cover of Producing Inclusive Feminist Knowledge: Positionalities and Discourses in the Global South
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Table of contents

(14 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xix
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Part I: Perspectives on Feminisms and Knowledge Production

Abstract

Many feminist scholars have challenged West-centric epistemologies and offered concepts such as multiple modernities and decoloniality as appropriate frames for understanding and challenging knowledge hierarchies. Much of these challenges have come from the two-thirds world, though some emanated from scholars located in the one-third world. This chapter presents two related discussions. First, the challenge of moving beyond binaries such as the Global North and South, or one- and two-thirds worlds, even though every region, nation-state, and locale is marked by many discussions, debates, and challenges between the privileged and marginalized within the realms, currently and historically. Second, our scholarly ability to consider a broader knowledge production process, especially evident through the productions through virtual spaces. I examine efforts to include indigenous knowledge by feminists, and reflect on the continuing challenges of dismantling knowledge hierarchies.

Abstract

This chapter reviews developments in the intellectual and activist work of African feminists and gender scholars over the past two decades. African feminists and gender scholar activists have broken with dominant epistemologies to frame their own sites of knowledge production and feminist identity, reflecting shifting conditions in local and global contexts. The knowledge they generate is rooted in a tradition of scholarship, activism, and engagements with state institutions and with transnational and regional feminist movements. I discuss (1) contexts in which African feminist standpoints have emerged over the past 20 years, (2) developments in women and gender studies programs, and (3) ways in which African feminist scholars in the continent and diaspora have stimulated intellectual engagement and activism through feminist research and publishing, collaborative scholarship, influencing policy, and new forms of activism.

Abstract

In this chapter, I revisit an important debate about dalit feminism that took place in the pages of the Economic and Political Weekly, a leading publication in India, from 1995 to 2000 (Datar, 1999; Guru, 1995; Rege, 1998, 2000). Reexamining this debate in the context of contemporary dalit and savarna feminist activism, I show that while the debate was key in making visible (1) the heretofore unmarked savarna nature of autonomous feminism and (2) the male domination of dalit politics, in the decades following the debate, dalit politics remains primarily male, and autonomous feminism while cognizant of and in conversation with dalit feminism is not necessarily transformed by dalit standpoint. Further, dalit feminism itself while visible nationally and transnationally has focused at home largely on “difference,” from savarna feminism without adequately addressing the differences among dalit subjectivities in neoliberal India, limiting the possibilities of radical, coalitional politics.

Abstract

This chapter seeks to situate theoretically and comparatively the definitions and praxis of feminism by women activists of the Brazilian participatory state feminism in comparison to the current and emerging definitions in the theories and praxis of transnational feminisms. It analyzes the answers to attitudinal as well as behavior questions to a survey conducted in 2016 among delegates to National Conference for Policies for Women, representing over 150,000 women activists from all over the country and from a wide range of organizations and movements (women’s and feminist organizations, trade unions, political parties, black movements, environmental groups, LQBT organizations, etc.). The main research question addressed in this chapter is whether current Brazilian feminisms – constructed by several generations of women – have had a trajectory, convergent with those of the feminisms of the global north and the global south, moving from the “rights feminism” of the 1970s to the current intersectional and emancipatory feminism, which goes beyond the affirmation of women’s rights and gender equality, and moves on to use the broader concept of social justice to propose equality for the whole of society, not just for women.

Abstract

This chapter critically examines dialogues between indigenous feminists and academic feminists about the role and significance of indigenous epistemologies in constructing social scientific knowledge, particularly feminist epistemologies. We argue that the term indigenous feminisms must be understood as broadly linking gender equality, decolonization, and sovereignty for indigenous peoples. In Latin America, this term typifies an activist and practical movement with cultural, economic, and politically specific dimensions. We posit that analytical and theoretical frameworks developed from indigenous women’s ways of knowledge production should be recognized and legitimated in feminist discourse because much is learned from their worldview about women’s emancipation, the importance of intersectionality in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender in indigenous contexts, in addition to political and cultural critiques. We show that indigenous feminist theoretical formulations are not homogenous but overlap in some areas of theoretical and practical formulations that involve new conceptualizations of the body, space, time, action/movement, and memory.

Part II: Young Feminists and Digital Approaches to Scholarship and Activism

Abstract

Online feminist activism has opened a different path for ordinary Iranians who are not necessarily versed in post-revolutionary discourses on feminism and political activism, nor are familiar with the names and past achievements of Iranian women’s activist pioneers since the birth of the Islamic Republic in 1979. Social media has helped to tease apart government statecraft that continually touts and reemphasizes Islamic values, at the same time providing a platform for a feminist consciousness that more recently has passionately supported individual rights, especially the right to privacy. This chapter delves into this move toward a more individualized form of dissent, surveying the generational, ideological, and technological divides that have emerged among Iranian women’s activists following popular uprisings that have been happening domestically since 2009.

Abstract

Since the advent of digital activism, a lot of scholarly attention has been paid to the use of the internet, especially in Africa, for effecting changes in authoritarian rule. This chapter extends the work done by such scholars focusing on the work of African digital feminist activists, thus adding to the growing body of work on digital feminist activism. Drawing on interviews and analyses of digital material produced by four different feminist groups in Ghana, this chapter explores the variety of ideas that such digital feminists express, and the manner in which such ideas are received by the larger Ghanaian society. It argues that, indeed, digital feminists are making a positive impact on the larger Ghanaian society. While these digital feminists are subjected to cyberbullying, there are also many ways in which other individuals, both Ghanaian and otherwise are showing support for these women and their ideas. Increasingly, with particular reference to the newest of these groups, it is clear that they have institutional support for their views as evident in public and private organizations sanctioning employees or associates whose digital language they have critiqued. As with activism targeted at authoritarianism, digital activism targeted at patriarchy gets results, changing mindsets and penalizing sexist behaviors.

Abstract

This chapter is a reflective evaluation of the preexisting and emerging issues and challenges which mediate contemporary efforts to sustain gender justice in the Caribbean. I use the perspectives of undergraduate feminist theory students and online feminist activists to establish how contemporary Caribbean feminist advocacy is situated. I also evaluate this situatedness by considering the salience of perspectives and sentiments inherited from a legacy of collective consciousness raising through developed Caribbean feminist theorizing and vibrant women’s movements in the region. I assert that student responses reflect an awareness of this legacy with an understanding of self as inheriting a secure agency as a collective, particularly as a collective group of women, but at the same time expressing a preoccupation with the individualistic, particularly in terms of concerns over bodily autonomy. This suggests a turn from their legacy. In addition, online feminist activists lament that change is not as evident as needed; that they still live limits, are still subject to gendered structures of power, and that struggles over legitimacy and for freedom from gender-based violence continue to undermine the attainment of gender justice. Their sentiments suggest that the “there” has been engaged but by no means arrived at as a fixed end point; while some agency can be accessed, gender justice in the region continues to be a journey that is complex and requires response to an ever changing social, political and economic landscapes.

Part III: Feminist Knowledge Production in Applied Contexts

Abstract

Decades after feminist scholars first applied the lens of patriarchy to explain gender inequalities, and wrestled with the consequences of the patriarchal order, masculinity studies have moved from an emphasis on hegemonic masculinities to more nuanced constructions of men’s gendered performances. However, many analyses about men’s social interactions still focus on a limited set of behaviors, and men’s relations with women are often presented as problematic. Many accounts pay insufficient attention to changing contexts and men’s own explanations or perspectives, so we do not see men’s struggles or fully understand why and how some men resist patriarchal norms and perform less conventional masculinities, and what the costs and benefits of contesting dominant constructions are. One of the abiding ideologies of manhood is related to the role of the provider. In this chapter, we propose that the persistence of the social expectation that men should be the (main) family providers, despite changing economic circumstances and historical evidence to the contrary, is profoundly implicated in the tenacity of social expectations for men to perform dominant roles. We explore this contention through conversations with young African men in six cities on the continent and in the diaspora, namely Accra, Kampala, London, Nairobi, Philadelphia and Pretoria.

Abstract

This chapter explores issues related to building a globally conscious body of feminist gender knowledge and praxis, one that acknowledges the southern challenge to hegemonic western scholarship, develops means to hear subaltern voices on their own terms and takes lessons learned into account. Following the author’s positionality statement, the characteristics of feminist theory are briefly stated, and some current southern perspectives are reviewed. Recent published research is used to illustrate the place of gender issues in theory building, data collection, development efforts and pedagogy. The challenges related to and uneven progress toward the goal of a globally conscious body of feminist gender knowledge and praxis are acknowledged.

Abstract

African feminist scholars and activists have made major contributions to our understanding of gender-based violence. This is especially the case in southern Africa, which has a long history of high rates of violence against women and girls. Their rates of gender-based violence are among the very highest in the world. While there are many forms of gender-based violence, this chapter will explore the important contributions of African gender scholars and activists to our knowledge concerning domestic violence and rape. These issues will be interrogated using Zimbabwe and South Africa as case studies, with some reference to Namibia. In the region, domestic violence and sexual assault have deeply rooted structural explanations linked to the long history of colonialism, apartheid and white minority rule, political transition, economic crises and adjustment, changes in expected gender roles and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In the past 25 years, Zimbabwe and South Africa attempted to address violence against women through the development of laws as well as the creation of non-governmental organizations. Although these important efforts have not resulted in a major decrease in violence against women, they clearly demonstrate the long history of African women’s actions in resisting state power and patriarchy. African women as citizens, scholars and activists are responsible for bringing to the fore the critical importance of reducing gender-based violence in order to establish strong, just and sustainable societies in southern Africa.

Index

Pages 249-257
Content available
Cover of Producing Inclusive Feminist Knowledge: Positionalities and Discourses in the Global South
DOI
10.1108/S1529-2126202131
Publication date
2021-09-17
Book series
Advances in Gender Research
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-80071-171-6
eISBN
978-1-80071-170-9
Book series ISSN
1529-2126