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Feminism, imperialism and orientalism : the challenge of the 'Indian woman'

By Joanna Liddle and Shirin Rai


This article examines the content and process of imperialist discourse on the ‘Indian woman’ in the writings of two North American women, one writing at the time of ‘first wave’ feminism, the other a key exponent of the ‘second wave’ of the movement. By analysing these writings, it demonstrates how the content of the discourse was reproduced over time ith different but parallel effects in the changed political circumstances, in the first case producing the Western imperial powers as superior on the scale of civilisation, and in the second case producing Western women as the leaders of global feminism. It also identifies how the process of creating written images occurred within the context of each author's social relations with the subject, the reader and the other authors, showing how an orientalist discourse can be produced through the author's representation of the human subjects of whom she writes; how this discourse can be reproduced through the author's uncritical use of earlier writers; and how the discourse can be activated in the audience through the author's failure to challenge established cognitive structures in the reader

Topics: D
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 1998
DOI identifier: 10.1080/09612029800200185
OAI identifier:
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