Against Purity: Rethinking Identity with Indian and Western by Irene Gedalof

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 issues. 1. ladies and neighborhood identities in Indian feminisms. 2. supplier, the self and the collective in Indian feminisms -- Pt. II. White Western feminisms and identification. three. Luce/loose connections: Luce Irigaray, sexual distinction, race and kingdom. four. girl hassle: 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. energy, identification and impure areas. eight. Theorising girls in a postcolonial mode

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Additional info for Against Purity: Rethinking Identity with Indian and Western Feminisms (Gender, Racism, Ethnicity)

Sample text

But for Chhachhi, women cannot sidestep their implication in community identity. They need to counter the myth of monolithic community identities, while insisting on their place within the process of defining those communities (1991:168–9). 34 INDIAN COMPLICATIONS Useful bodies What Chhachhi suggests, but doesn’t explicitly discuss, is why ‘Woman’ and ‘women’ should prove such useful boundary markers for community identities. One of the points most frequently made in much of the material discussed in this chapter involves some variation on the statement that ‘the identity of a community is constructed on the bodies of women’ (Kannabiran and Kannabiran 1995:122).

For ten years, Shah Bano, a Muslim woman, had contested the inadequate maintenance terms of 32 INDIAN COMPLICATIONS her divorce under the Muslim personal law. In 1985 the Indian Supreme Court ruled in her favour. But this ruling then sparked a complex and bitter struggle over the personal law system, the desirability of a uniform civil code that could override or replace the personal laws, and the ways in which the rights and distinctive identities of India’s different religious communities should be defined and recognised.

It is difficult to imagine completely avoiding the risk of a Western feminist constructing yet another East to serve Western purposes, and my engagement with Indian feminisms remains open-ended in recognition of this. But another part of what the postcolonial mode means is that there are no pure spaces called ‘East’ and ‘West’, ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’, and this inevitable impurity and intermingling is what makes those connections ‘just-barely-possible’. I think it also means that the changes and complications effected on feminist theory in a place like India can help make more visible the questions that have not been asked, and that still need to be asked, by white Western feminists in our own impure spaces.

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