- Geografías feministas de diversas latitudes. Orígenes, desarrollo y temáticas contemporáneas ed. by María Verónica Ibarra García and Irma Escamilla-Herrera
Geografías feministas de diversas latitudes. Orígenes, desarrollo y temáticas contemporáneas.
Mexico City: Instituto de Geografía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2016. 240 pp. Tables, figures, references, and index. MXN$230 paper (ISBN 978-607-02-8506-6), $0.00 ebook (ISBN: 978-607-02-8506-6).
Feminist geography has meant different things to different people in different places. It has had most incidence within the Anglophone geographical discipline—which is not to say it is popular—where most feminist geographical work is read and produced. Many English-speaking geographers interested in feminist contributions to the discipline have only to search for “feminist geography” and then access these publications through their institutions. Unfortunately, this is not so for many feminist geographers outside of the English-speaking world. In addition, as Anna Ortiz and María Dolores García Ramón emphasize in their contribution to this volume, the demand to [End Page 223] publish in internationally recognized journals in English further widens the theoretical and empirical gap that exists around feminist geographies outside of the English-speaking world. This Anglophone dominance within feminist geography leaves us wondering about feminist geographies across the globe. This book, written in Spanish and published in Mexico, draws attention to the different international feminist geographies that are being developed in the academic field beyond the Anglophone world (here, including continental Europe and Latin America), which combine diverse perspectives while contributing to imagining women (and men and everyone in between) in different latitudes.
The book consists of eight separate chapters, each dealing with the status of feminist geography in the authors’ respective countries. The book develops three key themes: bringing Anglophone feminist geographical contributions to the Spanish-speaking world, providing numerical data on feminist geographical work in their countries, and elucidating the barriers and opportunities that authors have faced while attempting to incorporate feminist perspectives into geography and in their home countries.
Because this review is aimed at an Anglophone audience outside of Latin America, I will primarily focus on the third theme. Authors such as Claire Hancock, Amandine Chapuis, and Diana Lan guide the reader through the situated, specific, historical and geographical opportunities that have opened or closed doors to feminist perspectives within geography. For instance, the authors explain that resistance to feminist ideas in France and in Argentina can be attributed to the belief that feminist struggles take away attention from social or class struggles that many academics have deemed more important. In many parts of the world, feminism continues to be associated with American middle-class privilege, and thus is not radical enough; or, at the other end of the spectrum, it has militant connotations and is thus considered too radical.
Lise Nelson, Carolin Schurr, Hancock, and Chapuis address the contradictions of western feminist geographical philosophy: while it attempts to push back against global hegemonic powers that maintain gender and heteronormative hierarchies, it has also served as a vehicle of continued dominance and oppression, for Anglophone feminist ideas are deeply attached to neocolonialism, racism, and other oppressive systems. For example, in Argentina, as in many Latin American countries, Lan reminds us that most international interventions have been accompanied by structural adjustment programs and neoliberal policies. These programs, which impose a neoliberal logic outside of western spaces, are usually accompanied by western notions of development having important implications on gender equality. A superficial incorporation of women from the Global South into development efforts homogenizes gender issues across the world, allowing for a continued exploitation of women’s labor in the Global South while increasing profits in the Global North.
The need for the plural in feminism becomes apparent in chapter 7, on Italy, by Rachele Borghi, Monica Camuffo, and Cesare Di Feliciantonio. Despite feminism’s strong presence as a national social movement, independent from the English-speaking world, it [End Page 224] has encountered strong resistance within Italian geography. Hancock and Chapui stress...