NWSA Journal 15.1 (2003) 132
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Voices from the Economic South
In September 2001, thirty-three editors of women's studies journals from fifteen countries attended a workshop for the International Women's Studies Journals Network (recently renamed the Feminist Knowledge Network) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The purpose of the workshop was to explore how women's studies journals could establish transnational connections and better contribute to the development of a transnational feminist theory and practice. In attendance, were feminist editors from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, India, Indonesia, Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, the Sudan, Uganda, and the United States. Marilyn Porter, the organizer of the workshop and editor of the journal Atlantis, made an effort to ensure that journals from the economic North would be in the minority. For example, there were only two journals from the United States represented at the workshop:Feminist Studies and NWSA Journal. This decision enabled the decentering of northern, especially U.S., feminist perspectives and thus challenged the ways in which U.S. imperialism ensures greater access to U.S. cultural products (in this case, feminist ideas and publications) than to feminist work from other places in the world, especially the economic South.
One focus of the workshop was the possibility of combining our resources to work toward the goal of wider dissemination of feminist ideas from places other than the economic North. As more than one participant remarked, "We are all familiar with the feminist work that is being produced in the North (especially in the United States); however, people in the North do not have similar knowledge of feminist work being published in the South. Moreover, people in the South do not necessarily have access to feminist work published elsewhere in the South." Thus, given the global politics of publishing and distribution, the dominant voices of feminism continue to be from the North. Participants in the Halifax workshop decided that an effective strategy to encourage rather than preclude the possibility of intercultural feminist theory and activism would be for journals with more resources to devote space to articles from the South. In this way, more people would become aware of feminist work being done in the South, and work that might risk censorship in some cases could be published elsewhere. We agreed on the importance of facilitating awareness of the many issues confronting women and girls in the world. In light of these conversations, the editors of NWSA Journal have created a new section, "Voices from the Economic South."
Kim Q. Hall