By Irene Gedalof
This pioneering quantity evaluations the paintings of 4 eminent western feminists - Rosi Bradiotti, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway and Luce Irigaray - and explores the connection among Indian and white western feminism. Pt. I. Indian problems. 1. girls and neighborhood identities in Indian feminisms. 2. corporation, the self and the collective in Indian feminisms -- Pt. II. White Western feminisms and id. three. Luce/loose connections: Luce Irigaray, sexual distinction, race and state. four. woman difficulty: Judith Butler and the destabilisation of sex/gender. five. 'All that counts is the going': Rosi Braidotti's nomadic topic. 6. Donna Haraway's promising monsters -- Pt. III. opposed to purity. 7. strength, id and impure areas. eight. Theorising ladies in a postcolonial mode
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Extra info for Against Purity: Rethinking Identity with Indian and Western Feminisms (Gender, Racism, Ethnicity)
Respecting the complexity and specificity of work produced in another context is always difficult. The material I engage with in these two chapters is, quite rightly, more concerned to speak to the complexities of Indian society than to Western feminists, and recognising and respecting that space is part of what postcolonial theory is about. As Donna Haraway has noted, there is always a ‘very fine line between appropriation of another’s (never innocent) experience and the delicate construction of the just-barely-possible affinities, the justbarely-possible connections that might actually make a difference in local and global histories’ (Haraway 1991: 113).
Women were killed in order to save them from being ‘polluted’ and so save the community’s purity. Mass suicides of women to protect their own status as pure were valorised as the aceeptable face of women’s agency. Conversely, the rape and mutilation of women marked them as ‘taken’ by the other side and made indelibly impure (Butalia 1993:WS14–15). Butalia’s discussion of recent communal violence shows many of the same practices at work today (Butalia 1995). Historical analyses of social practices under contention during the colonial period identify similar symbolic roles invested in the bodies of women.
Women’s emancipation (the ‘new’ part of the ‘new Indian woman’ construct) is made to appear as a matter of individual women’s achievement and choice, in ways that fit comfortably with a tradition preserved intact in an idealised conjugal and domestic sphere. Again, as in the re-scripting of the Golden Age examined by Chakravarti, this version of tradition can only survive by what it excludes. Here, Sunder Rajan argues, this is achieved by redefining precisely those aspects of ‘tradition’ that are the most frequent sites of women’s oppression—sexual harassment, domestic work, dowry demands, marriage rituals.