By Irene Gedalof
This pioneering quantity opinions 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 group identities in Indian feminisms. 2. organization, 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 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, id 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)
Sangari argues that it is necessary to work with a concept of ‘multiple identities’ that emerge ‘through several criss-crossing ideologies rather than a single one’, and that exist, not as atomised entities, but in close relation with each other (1993:871). One of the practical reasons motivating Indian feminists to adopt a complex model of women’s identity is suggested by Gabriele Dietrich in her discussion of the impact of the recent rise in communalism on the women’s movement. For Dietrich, ‘[i]f one thing has become clearer over WOMEN AND COMMUNITY IDENTITIES 31 the past few years, it is the fact that caste and religious community are much stronger in women’s lives than gender, at least in situations of communal strife’ (Dietrich 1994:43–4).
By only recognising an ungendered identity for Muslim women, and by foregrounding Muslim personal law as the sole basis of community identity, the state legitimated a narrow interpretation of Muslim community identity, deauthorising other trends of thought and interpretations from within the Muslim community in the process (1994b:68). WOMEN AND COMMUNITY IDENTITIES 33 Hasan’s concern with tracking the ways in which particular groups of women, and constructs of the feminine, come to ‘stand for’ the community, and especially for some sense of stable, unchanging truth about the nation or the race, is one that is shared in other recent work by Indian feminists.
This ‘feminisation’ of the movement through a public discourse of home worked through this tension on several levels. For example, the move to invest moral authority and purity in the feminine-home sphere represents a potential challenge to patriarchal perceptions of women’s actual authority in the family. But investing women with this moral ascendancy was often linked to rejecting the importance of formal education for women, so that the household, centred around domestic work and an oral tradition of stories from the epics, becomes woman’s religious text, sufficient to her needs (Sarkar 1987:2013).