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Towards a Radical Re-appropriation: Gender, Development and Neoliberal Feminism


Wilson, Kalpana. 2015. “Towards a Radical Re-Appropriation: Gender, Development and Neoliberal Feminism.” Development and Change 46 (4): 803–32. doi:10.1111/dech.12176.

Author: Kalpana Wilson


Tracing a complex trajectory from ‘liberal’ to ‘neoliberal’ feminism in development, this article argues that approaches to gender which are currently being promoted within neoliberal development frameworks, while often characterized as ‘instrumentalizing’ gender equality, in fact rely upon, extend and deepen gendered inequalities in order to sustain and strengthen processes of global capital accumulation in several ways. This is explored through development discourses and practices relating to microfinance, reproductive rights and adolescent girls. Drawing on examples from India, the article goes on to reflect on experiences of collective movements in which the assumptions underpinning this ‘Gender Equality as Smart Economics’ approach are challenged. Finally, it highlights several concepts associated with Marxist, Black, Post-colonial and Queer feminisms and underlines their importance to projects seeking to critically redefine development, arguing for a radical re-appropriation of gender in this context.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2015

What Does it Mean to be a Post Colonial Feminist? The Artwork of Mithu Sen


Chatterjee, Sushmita. 2016. “What Does It Mean to Be a Post Colonial Feminist? The Artwork of Mithu Sen.” Hypatia 31 (1): 1–19.

Author: Sushmita Chatterjee


This article examines what the work of New Delhi-based artist Mithu Sen brings to thinking about being a postcolonial feminist. Using images from Sen’s solo exhibit in New Delhi and New York titled Half Full (2007), I theorize on the complexities that proliferate when think- ing about postcolonial feminism. Sen’s images play with “an” identity to showcase the hybrid and mobile configuration of postcolonial subjectivity. Sen’s provocative aesthetic urges us to rethink defining a set of conditions or tenets for postcolonial feminism. Rather, her aesthetic politics propels through humor and provides a prism to constantly reimagine postcolonial fem- inist subjectivity by urging a consideration of maps that intersect and overlap.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Women

Year: 2016

Constructing Humanitarian Selves and Refugee Others: Gender Equality and the Global Governance of Refugees


Olivius, Elisabeth. 2016. “Constructing Humanitarian Selves and Refugee Others: Gender Equality and the Global Governance of Refugees.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (2): 270–90. doi:10.1080/14616742.2015.1094245.

Author: Elisabeth Olivius


Contributing to ongoing debates about what happens when feminism is institutionalized in global governance, this article examines how gender equality is given meaning and applied in humanitarian aid to refugees, and what the implications are with regard to the production of subjectivities and their positioning in relations of power. Drawing on Foucauldian and postcolonial feminist perspectives, the analysis identifies two main representations of what it means to promote gender equality in refugee situations. Gender equality is represented as a means to aid effectiveness through the strategic mobilization of refugee women's participation, and as a project of development, involving the transformation of “traditional” or “backward” refugee cultures into modern societies. The subject positions that are produced categorically cast refugees as either passive or problematic subjects who need to be rescued, protected, assisted, activated, controlled and reformed through humanitarian interventions, while humanitarian workers are positioned as rational administrators and progressive agents of social transformation. In effect, gender equality is used to sustain power asymmetries in refugee situations and to reproduce global hierarchies.

Keywords: global governance, gender equality, refugees, humanitarian aid, governmentality, postcolonial feminism, Thailand, Bangladesh

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Humanitarian Assistance

Year: 2016

Northern Crises: Women’s Relationships and Resistances to Resource Extractions


Stienstra, Deborah. 2015. “Northern Crises: Women’s Relationships and Resistances to Resource Extractions.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17 (4): 630–51. doi:10.1080/14616742.2015.1060695.

Author: Deborah Stienstra


Using feminist disability studies and intersectionality, this article draws upon the ongoing resource extractions in Labrador, Canada to argue for examining local communities and relationships as one way to understand gender and global social, economic and environmental crises. The article explores how crises in Labrador have been constituted and maintained around global agendas of economic and resource development, historical and current colonial practices and a limited and constrained international relations with local Indigenous nations. The lives of women and their communities in Labrador illustrate one wave of a global crisis that extinguishes diversity and connection to the land in a race to extract natural resources, maintain global military power and gain profit in the global economy. The actions over the past thirty years by NATO and the Canadian federal, provincial and municipal governments, coupled with transnational mining corporations such as Vale, have “normalized” crisis in the communities and reduced the capacity of these communities and Indigenous nations to respond to the issues arising as a result of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric development project. Yet the women and their communities illustrate their agency and reject an analysis of them exclusively as victims. Together with researchers and activists, the women in Labrador have built a community of practice in the Feminist Northern Network.

Keywords: feminist disability studies, indigenous, intersectionality, resource development, hydroelectricity

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Globalization, Political Economies, Rights, Indigenous Rights Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2015

The Quest for Spatial Justice: From the Margins to the Centre


Kinyanjui, Mary Njeri. 2014. "The Quest for Spatial Justice: From the Margins to the Centre." In Women and the Informal Economy in Urban Africa: From the Margins to the Centre, 87-98. London: Zed Books.   

Author: Mary Njeri Kinyanjui


"As has been illustrated in the preceding chapters, the city authorities have rarely been supportive of the informal sector. They see it as a nuisance and a source of insecurity. Consecutive local government authorities have therefore worked hard to remove the informal economy from the central business district (CBD), choosing to contain it in the city periphery. The conflict over city space dates back to the colonial period when the city was segregated on the basis of race. During the colonial period, Europeans occupied the most accessible parts of the city while Asians occupied the middle spaces. Africans occupied the city out- skirts in the area that is known today as Eastlands. While the African male migrant had the right to access spaces as a worker, the African woman did not have such rights. Her access to the city was determined by marital status.

"Historically, women in Kenya were excluded from land ownership in both urban and rural areas by both the patriarchal and the state laws that gave men leverage in land rights. Land belonged to men, and women could have only user rights. However, Kenya’s new constitution has given women a reprieve by according them the right to own and inherit land. Land is a critical factor of production: according to Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, lack of land rights has not only held down the poor of Latin America in informality, but it has also denied them the chance to become capitalists (de Soto 1989). Consequently, the World Bank has proposed the need to ease land rights in developing countries as a strategy to facilitate people’s exit from poverty (Deininger 2003)" (Kinyanjui 2014, 87).

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Americas, South America Countries: Kenya, Peru

Year: 2014

The Story of an African Famine: Gender and Famine in Twentieth-Century Malawi


Vaughan, Megan. 2007. The Story of an African Famine: Gender and Famine in Twentieth-Century Malawi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Author: Megan Vaughan


This account of the 1949 famine in colonial Malawi employs a wide variety of historical sources, ranging from Colonial Office documentation to the songs of women who lived through the tragedy. The analysis of the causes and development of the famine takes the reader through a detailed agricultural and social history of Southern Malwai in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing in particular on the nature of social and economic stratification, changes in kinship systems and the position of women and placing all this within the wider context of the impact of colonial rule. (Google Books)

Topics: Agriculture, Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2007

La Nouba des Femmes du Mont-Chenoua

"Returning to her native region 15 years after the end of the Algerian war, Lila is obsessed by memories of the war for independence that defined her childhood. In dialogue with other Algerian women, she reflects on the differences between her life and theirs. In lyrical footage she contemplates the power of grandmothers who pass down traditions of anti-colonial resistance to their heirs.

Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Violence, and Empire in India and Ireland, 1914-2004


Banerjee, Sikata. 2012. Muscular Nationalism: Gender, Violence, and Empire in India and Ireland, 1914-2004. Gender and Political Violence. New York: New York University Press.

Author: Sikata Banerjee


A particular dark triumph of modern nationalism has been its ability to persuade citizens to sacrifice their lives for a political vision forged by emotional ties to a common identity. Both men and women can respond to nationalistic calls to fight that portray muscular warriors defending their nation against an easily recognizable enemy. This “us versus them” mentality can be seen in sectarian violence between Hindus and Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalas, Serbs and Kosovars, and Protestants and Catholics. In Muscular Nationalism, Sikata Banerjee takes a comparative look at India and Ireland and the relationship among gender, violence, and nationalism. Exploring key texts and events from 1914-2004, Banerjee explores how women negotiate “muscular nationalisms” as they seek to be recognized as legitimate nationalists and equal stakeholders in their national struggles. 
Banerjee argues that the gendered manner in which dominant nationalism has been imagined in most states in the world has had important implications for women’s lived experiences. Drawing on a specific intersection of gender and nationalism, she discusses the manner in which women negotiate a political and social terrain infused with a masculinized dream of nation-building. India and Ireland—two states shaped by the legacy of British imperialism and forced to deal with modern political/social conflict centering on competing nationalisms—provide two provocative case studies that illuminate the complex interaction between gender and nation.
(New York University Press)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Nationalism, Political Participation, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia, Europe, Western Europe Countries: India, Ireland

Year: 2012

Gender and Feminist Geographies in the Middle East


Fenster, Tovi, and Hanaa Hamdan-Saliba. 2013. “Gender and Feminist Geographies in the Middle East.” Gender, Place & Culture 20 (4): 528–46. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2012.709826.

Authors: Tovi Fenster, Hanaa Hamdan-Saliba


This article aimed to review the research carried out in the Middle East primarily on gender and feminist geography and also on place formation, urban space, movement and mobility in the social and political sciences. This aim turned out to be challenging primarily because of the colonial and post-colonial history of the region that continues to have a profound effect on the development of academic knowledge among Middle Eastern scholars as well as a restricted accessibility to material published inside the Middle East. Despite this, the article primarily focuses on feminist research on Middle Eastern women done by Middle Eastern scholars and published in Middle Eastern journals and books primarily in Arabic (and Hebrew in Israel). However, during the process of reviewing a large variety of articles, book chapters and books that exist on Middle Eastern women, we realized that it is sometimes difficult and rather artificial to review the material with only this division in mind. In the end, we reviewed the literature on gender and feminism in the Middle East mainly highlighting local published research and also briefly referring to research published in the West by both Westerners and local researchers. The article begins with presenting its research methodology. It then analyzes the website and literature review that we carried out on the contexts, frameworks and themes of gender and feminist geography and spatial research in the Middle East with particular attention on the research carried out in Israel/Palestine. We focus on the private–public spheres; migration and diaspora and the veil as key concepts in analyzing the literature in this section. In the last section, we explain the reasons for the limitations on gender and feminist research in geography inside the Middle East and mention some general conclusions.

Keywords: gender, feminism, middle east, veil, private-public spheres, migration-diaspora

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Terrorism Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East

Year: 2013

Cutting across Imperial Feminisms toward Transnational Feminist Solidarities


Deb, Basuli. “Cutting across Imperial Feminisms toward Transnational Feminist Solidarities.” Meridians 13, no. 2 (2016): 164–88. doi:10.2979/meridians.13.2.09.

Author: Basuli Deb


Photography, not only by imperial men but also by imperial women, has played a significant role in portraying the Muslim woman as the apolitical exotic of orientalist fantasies. The legacy of colonial photography by European women travelers continues to haunt the media of the global North even today. Such imperial feminist discourse on women in Egypt was blatant in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's December 2011 announcement of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security at Georgetown University, as well as in the rhetoric of Laura Bush, Cherie Booth, and Condoleezza Rice on the War on Terror and Afghan and Iraqi women. In contrast, this article draws on the photographic counter-narratives, like “the girl in the blue bra,” that transnational feminists circulated through social media during the people's uprising in Egypt beginning in 2011 to evoke powerful images of women from the global south. It also examines the figure of the pan-Arab feminist Huda Shaarawi, who in 1919 organized the largest women's anti-British demonstration, and became in 1935 the vice president of the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship, and in 1945 the founding president of the Arab Feminist Union. Bringing these figures into conversation with Angela Davis's encounter with women in Egypt in her book Women, Culture, and Politics opens up new spaces for cross-border feminisms that cut across imperial legacies that continue to define relationships between women of the global North and the global South.

Keywords: feminism, race, transnationalism

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Governance, Race, Religion Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Egypt

Year: 2016


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