Feminism and "Race"

Feminism and "Race"

Feminism and "Race"

Feminism and "Race"


Brings together a wide variety of readings of and by women of colour from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Dr Fareda Banda, Lecturer in Law, School of Oriental and African StudiesFeminism and Race brings together a wide range of writings on 'race', racism, and feminism that have been published in the past two decades. It aims to provide readers with an overview of the history of these debates as well as to suggest future directions for feminist scholarship and practice in this field.


Kum-Kum Bhavnani

A volume such as this invariably omits too much, and can therefore appear incomplete to those who are familiar with the debates and discussions. That is the anxiety with which all editors and teachers live—have I said it all? What was not intended yet could be read into the omissions? The usual response to such questions is that it is rarely possible to say it all—because there is too much to be said. While such a response is reasonable, it still begs the question of why, then, have I decided to include a particular piece or argument rather than another. What are the implications of my selections? In this Introduction, I will focus on these implications, so that the reader may comprehend the rationale for this volume.

The past two decades have seen the incursion of feminist thought into many academic areas. Within the academy—for example in the social sciences, the humanities, law, geography, international studies and the natural sciences—feminist approaches have gained some legitimacy. Simultaneous with these disciplinary advances, the charge of racism has been directed at feminist theory, with the result that feminist work, both scholarship and political action—has had to continuously reshape itself. This has been done to a large extent by engaging with ideas that circulate in relation to identity and the politics of location, by thinking through the implications of difference for feminist work, and by paying close attention to histories of colonization and the ways in which those histories affect present day arguments about post-coloniality and imperialism.

Identity is an area that has influenced feminist scholarship as well as being heavily influenced by this scholarship. From the social psychological approaches to identity—often rooted in experimental work— to the more recent work of Judith Butler, for example, it can be seen that identity is a term that travels across disciplinary boundaries— rather like feminism—and 'captures succinctly the possibilities of . . .

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