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If the shoe fits: authenticity, authority and agency feminist diasporic research

By Marsha Henry


In this article I argue that the centrality of the white, western, middle-class academic as a dominant model of feminist researcher poses considerable difficulties for researchers who are racially and ethnically marginalised within their ‘home’ communities. The ‘authority’ that I was expected to demonstrate as a western researcher, seemed surprisingly absent in many of my research encounters. My ‘authenticity’ as a westerner or non-westerner was challenged both at ‘home’ and in the ‘field’ making hybridity and hyphenated identity a compelling option. My abilities to exercise agency in the research process were complicated by my attempts to fill the shoes of a feminist researcher that did not reflect my different social and institutional positioning. I argue that diasporic researchers might be better prepared for research by acknowledging the ways in which they are academically positioned both at the centre and at the margins, at ‘home’ and in the ‘field’. In addition, training and preparation that recognises difference and acknowledges multiple positionalities contributes to a politicisation of ‘race’ and ethnicity in the context of not only university spaces, but feminist communities

Topics: HQ The family. Marriage. Woman, HT Communities. Classes. Races
Publisher: Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.wsif.2006.12.009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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