As it is International Women’s Day, I have taken the opportunity to finalise my reading list for the year. My focus is on expanding my feminism and activism to take into account the global landscape, rathern than the Global Northern landscape.
Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith
From the vantage point of the colonized, the term ‘research’ is inextricably linked with European colonialism; the ways in which scientific research has been implicated in the worst excesses of imperialism remains a powerful remembered history for many of the world’s colonized peoples. Here, an indigenous researcher issues a clarion call for the decolonization of research methods. Exploring the broad range of issues which have confronted, and continue to confront, indigenous peoples, in their encounters with western knowledge, this book also sets a standard for truly emancipatory research. It brilliantly demonstrates that “when indigenous peoples become the researchers and not merely the researched, the activity of research is transformed.”
Masculinities by Raewyn W. Connell
In Masculinities, Connell argues that there is no such thing as a single concept of masculinity, but, rather, that many different masculinities exist, each associated with different positions of power. She explores global gender relations, new theories, and practical uses of masculinity research. Looking to the future, her new concluding chapter addresses the politics of masculinities, and the implications of masculinity research as a way of understanding current world issues.
Re-Orienting Western Feminisms: Women’s Diversity in a Postcolonial World by Chilla Bulbeck
The agenda of contemporary western feminism focuses on equal participation in work and education, reproductive rights, and sexual freedom. But what does feminism mean to the women of rural India who work someone else’s fields, young Thai girls in the sex industry in Bangkok, or Filipino maids working for wealthy women in Hong Kong? In this 1998 book, Chilla Bulbeck presents a bold challenge to the hegemony of white, western feminism in this incisive and wide-ranging exploration of the lived experiences of ‘women of colour’. She examines debates on human rights, family relationships, sexuality, and notions of the individual and community to show how their meanings and significance in different parts of the world contest the issues which preoccupy contemporary Anglophone feminists. She then turns the focus back on Anglo culture to illustrate how the theories and politics of western feminism are viewed by non-western women.
A Field of One’s Own: Gender and Land Rights in South Asia by Bina Agarwal
In this comprehensive analysis of gender and property throughout South Asia, Bina Agarwal argues that the most important economic factor affecting women is the gender gap in command over property. In rural South Asia, few women own land and even fewer control it. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including field research, the author addresses the reason for this imbalance, and asks how the barriers to ownership can be overcome. The book offers original insights into the current theoretical and policy debates on land reform and women’s status.
Beyond the Masks: Race, Gender and Subjectivity by Amina Mama
Psychology has had a number of things to say about black and coloured people and some of which have reinforced stereotyped and derogatory images. This text is an account of black psychology, exploring key theoretical issues in race and gender. It examines the history of racist psychology and of the implicit racism throughout the discipline. The text also offers a theoretical perspective, and should appeal to all those involved with ethnic minorities, gender politics and questions of identity.
The White Possessive: Property, Power, and Indigenous Sovereignty by Aileen Moreton-Robinson
The White Possessive explores the links between race, sovereignty, and possession through themes of property: owning property, being property, and becoming propertyless. Focusing on the Australian Aboriginal context, Aileen Moreton-Robinson questions current race theory in the first world and its preoccupation with foregrounding slavery and migration. The nation, she argues, is socially and culturally constructed as a white possession. Moreton-Robinson reveals how the core values of Australian national identity continue to have their roots in Britishness and colonization, built on the disavowal of Indigenous sovereignty. Whiteness studies literature is central to Moreton-Robinson’s reasoning, and she shows how blackness works as a white epistemological tool that bolsters the social production of whiteness—displacing Indigenous sovereignties and rendering them invisible in a civil rights discourse, thereby sidestepping thorny issues of settler colonialism.
Talkin’ Up to the White Woman: Indigenous Women and Feminism by Aileen Moreton-Robinson
Aileen Moreton-Robinson “talks up” in this provocative interrogation of feminism in representation and practice. As a Geonpul woman and an academic, she provides a unique cultural standpoint and a compelling analysis of the whiteness of Australian feminism and its effect on Indigenous women.Through an extensive range of articles by non-white scholars and activists, she demonstrates the ways whiteness dominates from a position of power and privilege as an invisible and unchallenged practice. She illustrates the ways in which Indigenous women have been represented through the publications and teachings of white Australian women. Such renderings of Indigenous lives are in contrast to the many examples provided of life writings by Indigenous women themselves. Persuasive and engaging, Talkin’ Up to the White Woman is a timely argument for the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in developing the teachings and practices that impact on Australia’s pluralistic society.
The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam by Fatema Mernissi
Convinced that the veil is a symbol of unjust male authority over women, in The Veil and the Male Elite, Moroccan feminist Fatima Mernissi aims to investigate the origins of the practice in the first Islamic community.
The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory by He-Yin Zhen
He-Yin Zhen (ca. 1884-1920?) was a theorist who figured centrally in the birth of Chinese feminism. Unlike her contemporaries, she was concerned less with China’s fate as a nation and more with the relationship among patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism, and gender subjugation as global historical problems. This volume, the first translation and study of He-Yin’s work in English, critically reconstructs early twentieth-century Chinese feminist thought in a transnational context by juxtaposing He-Yin Zhen’s writing against works by two better-known male interlocutors of her time. The editors begin with a detailed analysis of He-Yin Zhen’s life and thought. They then present annotated translations of six of her major essays, as well as two foundational tracts by her male contemporaries, Jin Tianhe (1874-1947) and Liang Qichao (1873–1929), to which He-Yin’s work responds and with which it engages. Jin, a poet and educator, and Liang, a philosopher and journalist, understood feminism as a paternalistic cause that liberals like themselves should defend. He-Yin presents an alternative conception that draws upon anarchism and other radical trends. Ahead of her time, He-Yin Zhen complicates conventional accounts of feminism and China’s history, offering original perspectives on sex, gender, labor, and power that remain relevant today.
Women in Class Society by Heleieth Saffioti
In this important theoretical and historical work, Brazilian sociologist Heleieth Saffioti deals with the interaction between the universal division of society based on sex and the capitalist division into classes. She focuses on two forms of capitalist society, the advanced and the emerging, with attention to the role of international capitalism in determining the particular problems of any minority in a dependent country.
*This list was built with reference to Raeywn Connell’s excellent list of academics in her lecture Decolonising Gender.