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Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis

Amanda Lock Swarr, Richa Nagar

Publication Year: 2010

Investigates the theory and practice of transnational feminist approaches to scholarship and activism. Provocative, timely, and global, this volume offers a critical and grounded engagement with transnational feminism through the lens of praxis—the juncture of theory and practice. In so doing, it grapples with questions of power and representation while remaining deeply committed to radical critiques and agendas of transnational and postcolonial feminisms. Long-time activists and well-known scholars speak to a wide range of issues and practices, including women’s studies curricula; NGOs; transnational and LGBTQ studies; feminist methodologies; and film. These essays similarly conceptualize ways to more effectively theorize feminist collaborative practices while subverting such rigid, established dichotomies as theory/practice, academic/activist, individual/collaborative, and the global North/South. A number of transnational projects are highlighted: the Guyanese Red Thread collective; the Ananya Dance Theater; the Philippine Women Center of British Columbia; the Filipino-Canadian Youth Alliance; the VIVA! Project; and the Indian organization Sangtin. Comprehensive in scope and rigorous in critical scrutiny, these powerful essays set the twenty-first-century agenda for political engagement through feminist scholarship.

Published by: State University of New York Press


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii


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pp. ix-xi

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Introduction: Theorizing Transnational Feminist Praxis

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pp. 1-20

The global left media celebrates Arundhati Roy as one of the most influential Third World activists resisting U.S. empire. Such celebration, however, does not mean that Roy’s intellectual voice and her political analyses have emerged in isolation from the struggles of activist communities—particularly, the Narmada Bachao Andolan...

PART I. Decolonizing Transnational Feminisms

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pp. 21

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1. Cartographies of Knowledge and Power: Transnational Feminism as Radical Praxis

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pp. 23-45

This essay is one moment in the process of almost two decades of thinking, struggling, writing, and working together in friendship and solidarity as immigrant women of color living in North America. Each of us has been involved in collaborative work in and outside the academy in different racial, cultural, and national sites...

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2. Disavowed Legacies and Honorable Thievery: The Work of the “Transnational” in Feminist and LGBTQ Studies

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pp. 46-62

Our aim in this essay is to examine the central debates of transnational feminism, treating it as a contested field of inquiry shot through with disagreements and productive tensions. How has the field congealed around certain keywords and concepts? How is our understanding of it being forged in particular arenas and via certain disciplines? This questioning is ...

PART II. Dialogical Journeys

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pp. 63

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3. Seeing Beyond the State: Toward Transnational Feminist Organizing

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pp. 65-86

“Collaboration” and “transnationalism” are terms that circulate widely, and probably too easily, within feminist scholarship. Both terms connote betweenness, a sense of exchange, instability, and movement, and rather than being easily circulated, perhaps their value lies in part in making us hesitate, reexamine, and reconsider. Collaborations between activists and academics often arise from some desire for exchange...

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4. Conflicts and Collaborations: Building Trust in Transnational South Africa

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pp. 87-104

In contemporary South Africa, progressive coalitional politics are extremely fraught and contentious due to deep divisions and distrust resulting from centuries of colonization and decades of apartheid repression. This chapter explores our navigation of this complicated terrain in our fourteen-year relationship to two social movements (one promoting rights for lesbian and gay South Africans and...

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5. Feminist Academic and Activist Praxisin Service of the Transnational

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pp. 105-123

In this chapter we address the nature of our collaboration as a black activist in the Guyanese women’s organization Red Thread, and as a white British academic in a Canadian university who works with Red Thread. In so doing we investigate the dialogic aspects of our political journeys as collaborators and attempt to capture some...

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6. Still Playing with Fire: Intersectionality, Activism, and NGOized Feminism

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pp. 124-143

If a pebble is dropped into still water, it produces turbulence. Ripple after ripple passes through the water, but after a few moments, everything becomes calm again. If we look at the political work done over the last decade by those who now constitute the membership of Sangtin Kisaan Mazdoor Sangathan...

PART III. Representations and Reclamations

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pp. 145

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7. So Much to Remind Us We Are Dancing on Other People’s Blood: Moving toward Artistic Excellence, Moving from Silence to Speech, Moving in Water, with Ananya Dance Theatre

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pp. 147-165

undercurrent, undercurrent, wave, up, stretch, out: arms move like this, and feet are toes and ball and sole and heel against the floor solid to the bone and then it isn't. pour one, two, three, four until water covers in quick rivulets and feet splash, leave curves of toes and movement that dissolve again. on the west bank of the mississippi, where slave women jumped ship to land in the love of their own kind...

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8. Remapping the Americas: A Transnational Engagement with Creative Tensions of Community Arts

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pp. 166-191

How can transnational feminist praxis inform social struggles not necessarily focused explicitly on women's issues nor limited to woman participants? What tensions and challenges does it share with transnational education, activism, and art? The conversation with other contributors to this book has created a space for me and fellow collaborators in the VIVA! project to probe the deeper historical and...

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9. Envisioning Justice: The Politics and Possibilities of Transnational Feminist Film

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pp. 192-205

Visual images are politically unwieldy. Transnational feminist collaborative film and video makers are aware that our work is framed by, and often unintentionally complicit with, the very power relations that we seek to disrupt and even modestly reformulate. Yet we continue to want to carry out this work in order to participate in a form of praxis...

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pp. 206-217

As a nontraditional “ending” to this volume, we present a set of reflections authored by the contributors in partnership with Piya Chatterjee, who was invited by SUNY Press to serve as a reviewer for our manuscript. Coincidentally, Piya had been invited and planned to participate in the workshop, Towards a Transnational Feminist Praxis, in September 2006...

About the Editors and Contributors

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pp. 219-225


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pp. 227-232

E-ISBN-13: 9781438429397
E-ISBN-10: 1438429398
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438429373
Print-ISBN-10: 1438429371

Page Count: 244
Illustrations: 5 b/w photographs, 1 map, 2 figures
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1