Osgoode Genest and IFLS visitor Ratna Kapur spoke on IWD-eve (obviously this should be a real thing, right? )from her forthcoming paper Pink Chaddis and SlutWalk Couture: The Postcolonial Politics of Feminism Lite. A great talk which wrapped critical approaches with a touch of real optimism. The piece links campaigns which developed out of the remarks made by police (both official and unofficial police of female behaviour, in fact) in India (Kapur provides this example: “People are turning out to be more fashionable …..all these things they provoke; provoke these types of things [rape] which are not in the control of the police. …When you are taking food which gives you good josh (urges), you tend to be more naughty”. Within minutes of these words being uttered by the Director General of Police (DGP) of Andhra Pradesh, a state in southeastern India, in late 2011, they were posted on youtube and provoked an avalanche of protest.” (citations removed) and in Toronto – actually at Osgoode (see our post here and for more on the Pink Chaddi’s campaign, see here or here).
Do the SlutWalk marches and Pink Chaddi campaigns represent the coming of age of feminism? Or do they signal feminism’s final demise?
and she encourages us to consider the possibility that:
These are not revolutionary moments, but hold within them powerful critiques of dominant feminist positions and operate as space clearing mechanisms for other analytical possibilities to emerge.
Kapur argues in this work that, in the Indian context:
The limitations of an exclusive focus on gender, victimisation, and a universalised Indian women’s identity gradually began to undermine the feminist movement.
These critiques expose deep fissures within the feminist ranks and the moralistic and essentialist understandings of gender which underpin a victim-centred analysis. There is no question that women have struggled as victims to subvert power – yet that power has not emanated from a single source – men. In the context of India, resistance to the colonial encounter was central to the experience of subordination for women on the Asian subcontinent. This history cannot be understood simply in terms of the history of gender subordination or sexual violence perpetrated by men against women. It was also about the broader economic and political subordination and expropriation of another nation’s labour, resources, land, raw materials and market, and the exclusion of the native – both men and women – from sovereignty and legal entitlements.
In this context, the Pink Chaddis campaign, and the Slutwalks can be seen as
…. techniques of critique, not only of dominant attitudes towards women’s sexuality, but also of some segments of the feminist movement’s complicity in reinforcing a sexually-sanitised understanding of female subjectivity. These campaigns mark, at one and the same time, the demise of a politics based on dominance feminism and the reincarnation of a politics of productive critique.
The full paper is coming in April from Feminist Legal Studies. See here for more about Feminist Legal Studies and the CFP around the paper).
The next IFLS event that we’d love to see you at will be the CFR/IFLS book launch of RECONSIDERING KNOWLEDGE, a project that was edited by Meg Luxton and Mary Jane Mossman. The event will be held on Friday March 23, at 2pm. Here’s a pdf flyer for circulation.
Reconsidering Knowledge: Feminism and the Academy (Fernwood 2012)
March 23, 2012, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. FSCR (Founders 305)
How has feminist thinking shaped what we know? Emerging from the lecture series “Feminist Knowledge Reconsidered: Feminism and the Academy,” held at York University in 2009, Reconsidering Knowledge examines current ideas about feminism in relation to knowledge, education and society, and the future potential for feminist research and teaching in the university context. Connecting early stories of women who defied their exclusion from knowledge creation to contemporary challenges for feminism in universities, this collection assesses how feminist knowledge has influenced dominant thinking and transformed teaching and learning. It also focuses on the challenges for feminism as corporatization redefines the role of universities in a global world. The essays reflect on both historical and contemporary themes from a diversity of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, but are united in their exploration of how feminism’s continuing contribution to knowledge remains significant, even fundamental, to the transformation of knowledge in the academy and in our world.
Introduction (Mary Jane Mossman and Meg Luxton) • Part One: Feminism and the Academy: Revealing the “Other” • Feminism and the Academy: Transforming Knowledge? (Meg Luxton) • Cartographies of Knowledge and Power: Transnational Feminism as Radical Praxis (M. Jacqui Alexander & Chandra Talpade Mohanty) • Sexual Diversity in Cosmopolitan Perspective (Elisabeth Young-Bruehl) • Part Two: Feminism and the Academy: (Re)Engaging the “Knowledge Revolution” • Universities Upside Down: The Impact of the New Knowledge Economy (Margaret Thornton) • The University on-the-Ground: Reflections on the Canadian Experience (Janice Newson) • Part Three: Feminism and the Academy: Remembering History/ Recalling Resistance • Bluestockings and Goddesses: Writing Feminist Cultural History (Ann Shteir) • Feminism, Ecological Thinking and the Legacy of Rachel Carson (Lorraine Code) •
Joined with the book launch is the launch of the “Timeline of York Women’s Studies History to 2011” project, directed by Rusty Shteir (who is also a contributor to the book).