By Irene Gedalof
This pioneering quantity reviews the paintings of 4 eminent western feminists - Rosi Bradiotti, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway and Luce Irigaray - and explores the connection among Indian and white western feminism. Pt. I. Indian issues. 1. girls and neighborhood identities in Indian feminisms. 2. business enterprise, the self and the collective in Indian feminisms -- Pt. II. White Western feminisms and identification. three. Luce/loose connections: Luce Irigaray, sexual distinction, race and country. four. woman difficulty: Judith Butler and the destabilisation of sex/gender. five. 'All that counts is the going': Rosi Braidotti's nomadic topic. 6. Donna Haraway's promising monsters -- Pt. III. opposed to purity. 7. energy, id and impure areas. eight. Theorising girls in a postcolonial mode
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Additional info for Against Purity: Rethinking Identity with Indian and Western Feminisms (Gender, Racism, Ethnicity)
I begin by discussing two contrasting Indian feminist analyses of women’s active presence in the contemporary Hindu communalist movement. This debate suggests broader theoretical differences within Indian feminisms over how to characterise women’s agency and positioning within predominant power relations. The second section explores a number of Indian feminist discussions of when and how women’s agency is valorised within discourses and practices that centre on community identities. The third section links the limitations placed on women’s agency with the ways in which the female body is conceptualised.
For Dietrich, ‘[i]f one thing has become clearer over WOMEN AND COMMUNITY IDENTITIES 31 the past few years, it is the fact that caste and religious community are much stronger in women’s lives than gender, at least in situations of communal strife’ (Dietrich 1994:43–4). If feminism is to speak to women’s lived experience, then it must take this insight on board. But Dietrich’s discussion also suggests a second facet that can emerge when feminists take complexity as a starting point; it is not just a question of what various categories of identity ‘do’ to women, but also how women can be necessary to, and productive of, those categories at the same time.
But then, Mani argues, real women, denied any agency or access to complex subjectivity in any of the norms on offer, are not the proper subjects of this particular debate. Nor are they even the principal objects of the debate. For Mani, norms of womanhood, inscribed on women’s bodies, rather constitute the ground upon which norms of nationhood, including notions of tradition, authenticity and relative national worth, are contested (1990:117–18). I began this section by considering what Kumkum Roy has called the ‘curious visibility’ of women within colonial and postcolonial discourses and practices that focus on national, raced and other community identities.