Location of Repository

Against purity : identity, western feminisms and Indian complications

By Irene Gedalof

Abstract

This thesis argues that Western feminist theoretical models of identity can be\ud productively complicated by the insights of postcolonial feminisms. In particular,\ud it explores ways that Western feminist theory might more adequately sustain a\ud focus on 'women' while keeping open a space for differences such as race and\ud nation. Part One identifies a number of themes that emerge from recent Indian\ud feminist scholarship on the intersections of sex, gender, race, nation and\ud community identities. Part Two uses these insights to look critically at the work\ud of four Western theorists, Rosi Braidotti, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway and Luce\ud Irigaray. I argue that strategies which privilege sexual difference as primary\ud cannot deal adequately with differences such as race and nation. But I also argue\ud that strategies which privilege destabilizing identity can be equally constrained\ud by the logic of dualisms which has made it so difficult for feminists to sustain a\ud focus on women and their differences. Part Three discusses how the insights to\ud be drawn from Indian ferninisms might be taken on board by Western ferninisms\ud in order to develop more complex models of power, identity and the self.\ud Throughout the thesis I draw on a Foucauldian understanding of power as\ud productive, and on Foucault's insight that subjects and identities emerge, not\ud through the imperatives of a single symbolic system, but through the intersection\ud of multiple networks of discourses, material practices and institutions. I argue\ud that, by attending to women's complex location within intersecting landscapes of\ud gender, nation, race and other community identities, feminist models of identity\ud can dispense with a logic of dualisms in order to redefine, and not only\ud destabilize 'women' as the subject of/for feminism. This requires working against\ud purity on three levels. First, it requires a model of power that gives up on the\ud search for pure, power-free zones and works instead with the instabilities power\ud produces as it both enables and constrains women. Second, it requires seeing\ud 'women' as a complex, impure category that bleeds across the apparently coherent\ud borders of identity categories such as gender, race and nation, and contesting\ud discursive constructs of 'Woman' as the pure space of origin upon which these\ud apparently discrete categories stand. Third, it requires the development of\ud alternative models of the self that take these complex, impure spaces as a valid\ud and valorised position from which to act and to speak

Topics: BD, HQ
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:3851

Suggested articles

Preview

Citations

  1. (1987). (1987)'Deterritorializations: The Rewriting of Home and Exile in Western Feminist Discourse', doi
  2. (1980). (I 977a) 'Truth and Power', doi
  3. (1980). (I 977b) 'Power and Strategies',
  4. (1994). (I 994a) 'Previous Engagements: The Receptions of Irigaray',
  5. 1) 'Automating Gender: Postmodern Feminism in the Age of the Intelligent Machine', doi
  6. 1) 'Overworlding the Third World', doi
  7. (1988). A Thousand Plateaus, doi
  8. (1994). All our Goddesses are Armed": Religion, Resistance and Revenge in the Life of a Militant Hindu Nationalist Woman', doi
  9. (1984). An Ethics ofSexual Difference,
  10. Ann (1989)Cyborgs, Origins and Subjectivity",
  11. (1997). Articles and Unpublished Papers Cited.
  12. (1987). Black Athena: Volume 1, The Fabrication of Ancient Greece, doi
  13. (1995). Black SocratesT,
  14. (1993). Can the Subaltern Speak? ',
  15. (1996). Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities, London and NY: Routledge. doi
  16. (1990). Chaos Bound. - Orderly Disorder in Contemporary Literature and Science, 1thaca and London: doi
  17. (1993). Colonial Discourse and PostColonial Theory: A Reader, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, doi
  18. (1994). Communal Property/Sexual Property: On Representations of Muslim Women in a Hindu Nationalist Discourse',
  19. (1995). Communalising Gender, Engendering Community: Women, Legal Discourse and the Saffron Agenda',
  20. (1993). Community, State and Gender: On Women's Agency during Partition', doi
  21. (1993). Consent, Agency and Rhetorics of Incitement',
  22. (1990). Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India!, doi
  23. (1992). Contingent Foundations: Feminism and the Question of "Postmodernism"'. doi
  24. (1993). Crosscuffents, Crosstalk: Race, "Postcoloniality" and the Politics of Location, Cultural Studies, doi
  25. (1994). Cyborg and Ecofeminist Interventions: Challenges for an Environmental Feminism', doi
  26. (1977). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, doi
  27. (1996). Discrepant Dislocations: Feminism, Theory and Postcolonial Histories, Berkeley: University of California Press. doi
  28. (1990). Eccentric Subjects', doi
  29. (1994). Engaging with Irigaray,
  30. (1989). Essentially Speaking. - Feminism, doi
  31. (1995). Ethic ofEros: Irigaray's Rewriting ofthe Philosophers,
  32. (1990). Femininity and Domination, doi
  33. (1994). Femininity, Space and the Female Body: Reconsiderations', paper delivered to the Workshop on Femininity,
  34. (1989). Feminism and Deconstruction, Again: Negotiating with Unacknowledged Masculinism',
  35. (1989). Feminism and the Power of the Law, doi
  36. (1995). Feminism Inverted: The Gendered Imagery and Real Women of Hindu Nationalism', doi
  37. (1995). Feminisms and the Seýf- The Web of Identity, doi
  38. (1991). Forced Identities: the State, Communalism', Fundamentalism and Women in India',
  39. (1992). Foucault and Feminism,
  40. (1990). Foucault on Power: A Theory for WomenT,
  41. (1986). From a Long Line of Vendidas: Chicanas and Feminism',
  42. (1995). From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a "Post-Socialist" Age',
  43. (1987). Gayatri Chakravorty doi
  44. (1989). Gender and Genius: Towards a Feminist Aesthetics, doi
  45. (1995). Gender and the Discourse of Nationalism
  46. (1994). Gender as Performance: an Interview with Judith Butler', doi
  47. (1994). Gender as Seriality: Thinking about Women as a Social Collective', doi
  48. (1990). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion ofIdentity, doi
  49. (1995). Her blood and his mirror: Mary Coleridge, Luce Irigaray, and the female self . doi
  50. (1995). Heroic Women, Mother Goddesses: Family and Organisation in Hindutva Politics',
  51. (1996). Imaginary Bodies: Ethics, Power and Corporeality, doi
  52. (1990). Inessential Woman, doi
  53. (1989). Introduction - Women Bhakti Poets',
  54. (1994). Irigaray Reading Heidegger' doi
  55. (1996). Is Class a Difference that Makes a DifferenceT, Radical Philosophy,
  56. (1995). Je - Luce Irigaray": A Meeting with Luce Irigaray', doi
  57. (1987). Kumkum (1987)'The Politics of the Possible', doi
  58. (1991). Luce Irigaray: Philosophy in the Feminine, doi
  59. (1987). Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book', doi
  60. (1990). Mirabai and the Spiritual Economy of the Bhakti'
  61. (1995). Mother Earth and the Wandering Hero', paper presented to the WomenlTimelSpace Conference,
  62. (1990). Mother Who is Not a Mother: In Search of the Great Indian Goddess', Economic and Political Weekly,
  63. (1993). Motherhood and Mothercraft: Gender and Nationalism in Bengal', Gender and Histor , doi
  64. (1990). Motherhood in Ancient India',
  65. Mrinalini (1987)'Gender and Imperialism', doi
  66. (1995). Muslims and Hindus, Men and Women: Communal Stereotypes and the Partition of India',
  67. (1990). Nation and Narration, doi
  68. (1995). Nationalism and Respectable Sexuality in India',
  69. (1987). Nationalist Iconography',
  70. (1994). Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory, doi
  71. (1986). Notes Towards a Politics of Location',
  72. (1990). Nous: Towards a Culture ofDifference, London and NY: Routledge,
  73. (1994). On Gender and Difference: Towards a Rearticulation',
  74. (1984). On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress',
  75. (1994). On the Question of Agency in Indian Feminist Historiography', doi
  76. (1978). Orientalism, doi
  77. (1989). Outcaste power: Ritual Displacement and Virile Maternity in Indian Women Writers', Economic and Political Weekly, doi
  78. (1995). Partial Truths: Privileging a "Male" Viewpoint',
  79. (1991). Past the Last Post, Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf Agnes,
  80. (1990). Playfulness, "World" -Travelling and Loving Perception', doi
  81. (1984). Polemics, Politics and Problematizations: An Interview with Michel Foucault',
  82. (1992). Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History: Who speaks for "Indian" pasts? ', Representations 37, doi
  83. (1980). PowerlKnowledge, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf
  84. (1992). Primate Visions: Gender, Race and Nature in the World of Modern Science, London: Verso. (I 992b) 'The Promises of Monsters',
  85. (1994). Problems for a Contemporary Theory of Gender, doi
  86. (1966). Purity and Danger, doi
  87. (1996). Race and the Education ofDesire: Foucault's History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things, Durham and London: doi
  88. (1992). Racialized Boundaries, London and NY: doi
  89. (1994). Reading Irigaray in the Nineties', in Burke, Schor and Whitford, eds, as above,
  90. (1990). Reading the Satanic Verses, Third Text, Summer doi
  91. (1993). Real and Imagined Women: Gender, Culture and Postcolonialism, doi
  92. (1990). Recasting Women: doi
  93. (1987). Reconstructing Womanhood, doi
  94. (1990). Representing Nationalism: Ideology of Motherhood in Colonial Bengal', Economic and Political Weekly,
  95. (1992). Representing Whiteness in the Black Imagination', doi
  96. (1995). Research Fellow, Centre for Contemporary Studies, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library,
  97. (1995). Resident Alien: Feminist Cultural Criticism, doi
  98. (1986). Seed and Earth: The Symbolism of Biological Reproduction and Sexual Relations of Production',
  99. (1989). Sexual Subversions: Three French Feminists, Sydney: Allen and Unwin. doi
  100. (1992). Shahbano' doi
  101. (1991). Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, doi
  102. (1992). Situating the Self. - Gender, Community and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics, doi
  103. (1974). Speculum of the Other Woman, Ithaca: Cornell, trans. by Gillian C. Gillý doi
  104. (1996). Syncopating India: Catherine Clement's Syncope',
  105. (1994). Syncope: The Philosophy of Rapture,
  106. (1993). The Angel of Progress: Pitfalls of the Term "Postcolonialism"',
  107. (1993). The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, doi
  108. (1989). The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity: A Feminist Appropriation of Foucault',
  109. (1993). The Body Politics of Julia Kristeva' doi
  110. (1977). The Confession of the Flesh', in Foucault,
  111. (1983). The Development of the Sita Myth: A Case Study of Women in Myth and Literature',
  112. (1989). The Empire Writes Back, doi
  113. (1995). The Frying Pan or the Fire?: Endangered Identities, Gendered Institutions and Women's Survival'.
  114. (1978). The History of Sexuality, Volume I. - An Introduction, doi
  115. (1993). The Matter ofImages,
  116. (1997). The Postcolonial: Conceptual Category or Chimera? ', doi
  117. (1949). The Second Sex, doi
  118. (1986). The Signifying Monkey, doi
  119. (1982). The Subject and Power', Afterword
  120. (1996). the Things You Could Be by Now if Sigmund Freud's Wife 340 was Your Mother: Psychoanalysis and Race', doi
  121. (1991). The Woman as Communal Subject',
  122. (1989). The World of the Bhaktin
  123. (1989). Thinking the Difference, doi
  124. (1994). This Essentialism Which Is Not One: Coming to Grips with Irigaray', as above,
  125. (1977). This Sex Which is Not One, Ithaca: Cornell, trans. by Catherine Porter,
  126. (1994). Towards a New Nomadism: Feminist Deleuzian Tracks: or5 Metaphysics and Metabolism',
  127. (1994). Traddutora, Traditora: A Paradigmatic Figure of Chicana Feminism'. doi
  128. (1989). True Confessions: Cixous and Foucault on Sexuality and Power',
  129. (1976). Two Lectures', doi
  130. (1991). Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses', doi
  131. (1989). Unruly Practices: Power, doi
  132. (1993). Up Against Foucault. - Explorations ofSome Tensions Between Foucault and Feminism, London doi
  133. (1994). Upholding the Common Life: The Community ofMirabai, doi
  134. (1990). Vidya (I 990)'Thumri as Feminine Voice, Economic and Political Weekly,
  135. (1996). Virtual Sexes and Feminist Futures: The Philosophy of "Cyberfeminism"',
  136. (1988). Wandering Audiences, Nomadic Critics', doi
  137. (1993). What is Post(-) Colonialism?, doi
  138. (1990). Whatever Happened to the Vedic Dasi?, doi
  139. (1995). Where Women are Worshipped, There the Gods Rejoice',
  140. (1993). White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness, doi
  141. (1994). Woman, Nation and Narration in Midnight's Children',
  142. (1994). Women and Religious Identities in India after Ayodhya',
  143. (1995). Women and the Hindu Right: A Collection o Essays, Delhi: Kali for Women.
  144. (1993). y Seshadri-Crooks, doi
  145. (1995). Zakia and Saswati Sengupta doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.