resisting heteronormativity/resisting recolonisation: affective bonds between indigenous women in southern Africa and the difference(s) of postcolonial feminist history

Spurlin, William J (2010) resisting heteronormativity/resisting recolonisation: affective bonds between indigenous women in southern Africa and the difference(s) of postcolonial feminist history. Feminist Review, 95. pp. 10-26. ISSN 0141-7789

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Abstract

This article recognises that any attempt to theorise the first wave globally must specify the use of the term `global¿, so as not to elide the specificity of local differences, and must critically account for how feminist struggles among postcolonial, indigenous women are intertwined with a resistance to a history of colonialism and racial domination. While more than a demand for equal access to the symbolic order on the basis of gender alone, Western feminists must study carefully the cultural and gender implications of work by indigenous women in postcolonial contexts which do not easily fit into familiar theoretical paradigms that mimic the development of Western feminism, given the heterosexist biases of Western feminism historically. To what extent does the very form of historicisation of feminist struggles in the West repeat the colonising gesture when attempting to historicise the struggles of women in postcolonial contexts where the three waves of feminism as an organising framework, however loosely constructed, are transplanted to locations where they did not emerge historically? Through an examination of feminist work coming out of southern Africa, the article argues how attention to affective and erotic bonds between women in Lesotho provides a critical response to the heterosexist biases of African cultural nationalism, as well as to the colonising tendencies of feminist and queer enquiry in the West that do not account for the primacy of the performativity of sexual expression rather than its discursive naming as a precise sexual identity. The article concludes by asking for a reconceptualisation of the temporality of feminism not limited to its periodisation in the West, but informed by the specificities of feminist struggles locally and globally, including erotic autonomy as a viable praxis of decolonisation and a heightened self-reflexivity about the imperialist gestures guiding the production of (feminist) history and scholarship.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: William Spurlin
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:23
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2012 13:51
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25741
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