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By Irene Gedalof

This pioneering quantity reviews 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. service provider, 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 kingdom. 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. strength, id and impure areas. eight. Theorising girls in a postcolonial mode

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Extra resources for Against Purity: Rethinking Identity with Indian and Western Feminisms (Gender, Racism, Ethnicity)

Sample text

The tremendous malleability of the widow’s body in cultural interpretation and in law contrasts cruelly with its absolute fixity —its reduction to ashes—in reality. But then, Mani argues, real women, denied any agency or access to complex subjectivity in any of the norms on offer, are not the proper subjects of this particular debate. Nor are they even the principal objects of the debate. For Mani, norms of womanhood, inscribed on women’s bodies, rather constitute the ground upon which norms of nationhood, including notions of tradition, authenticity and relative national worth, are contested (1990:117–18).

Samita Sen also explores this redefinition of the private, in which women became the arena for playing out agreements and conflicts between the colonial bureaucracy and the colonised middle class. ‘Home’ became designated as the private space where the colonised subject retreats from his master; neither collaboration nor protest were to impinge on the hearth where ‘Woman’ is constituted as the repository of traditional values and upholder of the moral order of the subject-race. For Sen, nationalism inherits a language that links and sets up a series of connected binary oppositions between ‘the “home and the world”, the nursery and the nation, the private and the public’ (Sen 1993:233).

For her, what lies behind this glorification of the mother is largely the anxieties of men, and their need for authentication and valorisation in the face of the colonial rulers. The legitimacy—a revalorised national identity—that emerges from the process is passed on to their sons, and not their daughters (1990:WS71). 6 In these narratives, those unsettling, excessive voices of the mother-goddess seem to have been completely domesticated. But as Ania Loomba has argued: For the Indian woman to be cast as Mother India and to serve a wide spectrum of political interests in colonial times, she had to be rewritten as more-than-victim.

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