Ethics, Politics and Transnational Feminist Knowledge: Regimes of Visibility and Invisible Practices

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The paper analyzes the paradigm of transnational feminism within the field of U.S. Women’s/Gender Studies. I argue in this paper that the hegemonic status of transnational feminism has begun to serve as a framing device that orients feminist research within a particular set of methodological,substantive and conceptual narratives. My interest in this paper is in interrogating and reflecting on the implications of this trend toward the knowledge production.of transnational feminism. I then move beyond a deconstruction of the dominant narratives of transnational feminism to consider alternative approaches to feminist knowledge production.
In this endeavor I make three central arguments. First, the production of transnational feminism has become entrenched in a regime of visibility that shapes its terms and conceptions. This regime of visibility rests on a narrow definition of transnationalism that has been skewed by a set of methodological biases oriented towards particular kinds of border crossing issues. I then propose a broader metholodological approach that can address three dimensions of knowledge production: epistemological (how we know), ontological (the materiality of knowledge) and the ethical (knowledge as practice). By focusing on these questions in terms of methodology my intention is to approach knowledge as a set of practices that can be both deconstructive and constructive and move beyond more static discussions of power/knowledge.

Keywords: Transnational Feminism, Knowledge and Power, Interdisciplinary Approaches, Cross-Cultural Approaches to Gender
Stream: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Prof. Leela Fernandes

Associate Professor of Political Science, Political Science, Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ, USA

Leela Fernandes is Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Her most recent book, India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform (University of Minnesota Press, December 2006) examines the political implications that the rise of the Indian middle class has had for Indian democracy and the politics of globalization. She is also the author of Producing Workers: The Politics of Gender, Class and Culture in the Calcutta Jute Mills (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997) and Transforming Feminist Practice: Non-Violence, Social Justice and the Possibilities of a Spiritualized Feminism (A. Lute Books, 2003). Her research focuses on questions of cultural politics, gender and political economy. She has published articles on labor, gender, cultural politics, nationalism, human rights and globalization and has received fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, American Institute for Indian Studies, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council . She is currently Co-Editor of Critical Asian Studies and Associate Editor of Signs: A Journal of Women, Culture and Society. Her current research projects focus on an empirically based research project on religion and politics in India and a series of theoretical essays on ethics, politics and knowledge.

Ref: I08P0702