It is my intention to put together a non-western feminism course syllabus for submission to my Women’s Studies department. In that spirit, I have collected a list of texts on non-western feminism, mostly in the voices of non-western women, to serve as a starting point for developing this syllabus.
I’m sharing this list with Tumblr because too often “feminism” is understood through a western lens, and this includes African-American and Latin@ feminism, as practiced in the academy. Positions at the margins of feminism, developed from theoretical frameworks that do not rely on western epistemology are necessary to disrupt the theoretical assumptions that we have grown too comfortable with.
Further, it is my intention that, as this list circulates tumblr through reblogs, more texts will be added to it so that space can be made for voices that are all too often unheard, new voices can be added to the feminist “canon,” and we can recognize the very real need for feminisms that arise in contexts outside the american and the western theoretical.
Maria Lugones “On the logic of pluralist feminism” in Pilgrimages
Alison Bailey “Locating Traitorous Identities” (about how privileged should proceed)
Uma Narayan, Chapter One, “Contesting Cultures: ‘Westernization,’ Respect for Cultures, and Third-World Feminists” in Dislocating Cultures (about what is really western about our (eastern) feminism)
bell hooks “Sisterhood: political solidarity among women” in FEMINIST theory
Sumbul Ali-Karamali, “Women in Islam: Marriage, Divorce, Polygamy, and that Veil Thing” inThe Muslim Next Door
Amina Wadud “Rights and Roles of Women” in Qur’an and Woman
Azizah al-Hibri “The Nature of Islamic Marriage” in Covenant Marriage in Comparative Perspective
Birdwhistell, Joanne D. 2007. Mencius and masculinities: Dynamics of power, morality, and maternal thinking. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Butnor, Ashby. 2001. Self and social engagement in Zen Buddhism and Western feminism. East-West Connections 1(1).
· 2011. Cultivating self, transforming society: Embodied ethical practice in feminism and Zen Buddhism. In Buddhism as a stronghold of free thinking? Social, ethical, and philosophical dimensions of Buddhism, ed. Siegfried C.A. Fay and Ilse Maria Bruckner. Nuestall, Germany: Edition Ubuntu.
Dalmiya, Vrinda. 1998a. Not just “Staying Alive.” Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 15 (3): 97-116.
· 2000. Loving paradoxes: A feminist reclamation of the goddess Kali. Hypatia 15 (1): 125-50.
· 2001a. Dogged loyalties: A classical Indian intervention in care ethics. In Ethics, in the world religions, ed. Joseph Runzo and Nancy M. Martin, 293-308. New York: OxfordUniversity Press.
· 2001b. Particularizing the moral self: A feminist-Buddhist exchange. Sophia 40 (1): 61-72.
· 2009. Caring comparisons: Thoughts on comparative care ethics. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (2): 192-209.
· 2009. The metaphysics of ethical love: Comparing practical Vedanta and feminist ethics. Sophia 48 (3): 221-35.
Goswami, Namita. 2008. Auto-phagia and queer trans-nationality: Compulsory hetero-imperial masculinity in Deepa Mehta’s Fire. Signs 33 (2): 343-69.
Herr, Ranjoo Seodu. 2003. Is Confucianism compatible with care ethics? A critique. Philosophy East & West 53 (4): 471-89.
· 2004. A third world feminist defense of multiculturalism. Social Theory and Practice: 30 (1): 73-103. Reprinted and trans. into Chinese in Collected works in Sino-Western political culture, vol. 5., ed. Will Kymlicka and Depu Ma. Tianjin, China: TianjinPeople’s Press, 2006.
· 2008. Politics of difference and nationalism: On Iris Young’s global vision. Hypatia 23 (3): 39-59.
· 2012. Confucian Family for a Feminist Future Asian Philosophy, 22 (4 ), 327-346.
· 2013. (forthcoming) Confucian Family-State and Women: A Proposal for Confucian Feminism. In Ashley Butnor, Jen McWeeny (Eds.), Liberating Traditions: Essays in Feminist Comparative Philosophy. (pp. 261–282). N.Y., N.Y. : Columbia UP
Hu, Hsiao-Lan. 2007. Rectification of the four teachings in Chinese culture. In Violence against women in contemporary world religion: Roots and cures, ed. Daniel C. Maguire and Sa’diyya Shaikh, 108-30. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press.
· 2011. This-worldly Nibbāna: A Buddhist-feminist social ethic for peacemaking in the global community. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Jiang, Xinyan. 2000. The dilemma faced by Chinese feminists. Hypatia 15 (3): 140-60.
· 2009. Confucianism, women, and social contexts. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (2): 228-42.
Klein, Anne C. 1994. Presence with a difference: Buddhists and feminists on subjectivity. Hypatia 9 (4): 112-30.
· 1995. Meeting the great bliss queen: Buddhists, feminists, and the art of the Self. Boston: Beacon Press.
Li, Chengyang, ed. 2000. The sage and the second sex: Confucianism, ethics, and gender. Chicago: Open Court.
McCarthy, Erin. 2003. Ethics in the between. Philosophy, Culture, and Traditions 2: 63-77.
· 2008. Towards a transnational ethics of care. In Frontiers of Japanese philosophy II: Neglected themes and hidden variations, ed. James Heisig, Victor Hori, and MelissaCurley, 113-28. Nagoya, Japan: Nanzan Insitute for Religion and Culture.
· 2010. Beyond the binary: Watsuji and Irigaray in dialogue. In Japanese and Continental Philosophy: Conversations with the Kyoto School, ed. Bret Davis, BrianSchroeder, and Jason Wirth, 212-28. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
· 2010. Ethics embodied. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
McWeeny, Jennifer. 2010. Liberating anger, embodying knowledge: A comparative study of María Lugones and Zen Master Hakuin. Hypatia 25 (2): 295-315.
Rosenlee, Li-Hsiang Lisa. 2004. Neiwai, civility, and gender distinctions. Asian Philosophy 14 (1): 41-58.
· 2006. Confucianism and women: A philosophical interpretation. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Wang, Robin R. 2003. Images of women in Chinese thought and culture: Writings from the pre-Qin period to the Song dynasty. Indianapolis: Hackett.
· 2009. Kundao: A lived body in female Daoism. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36 (2): 277-92.
Wawrytko, Sandra A. 1981. The undercurrent of ‘feminine’ philosophy in Eastern and Western thought. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
· 1994. Sexism in the early Sangha: Its social basis and philosophical dis- solution. In Buddhist behavioral codes (sila/vinaya) in the modern world, ed.Charles Wei-hsün Fu and Sandra A. Wawrytko, 265-80. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
· 2000a. Kong Zi as feminist: Confucian self-cultivation in a contemporary context. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 27 (2): 171-86.
Chandra Talpade Mohanty “Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity,”
· Chandra Mohanty “Under Western Eyes” http://blog.lib.umn.edu/raim0007/RaeSpot/under%20wstrn%20eyes.pdf
Susan Moller Okin “Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?”
Gaytary Spivak “Can the Subaltern Speak?”
Be sure to refer to this the next time someone tries that lazy, anti-critical thinking response of “we are all people” as if someone questioned our genus and species/binomial nomenclature as homo sapiens (though the consistent dehumanization efforts against people of colour leaves the argument open of whether or not we are actually considered human in the first goddamn place), versus questioning the fact that despite race being a social construct, racism is very much a real issue (as if social constructs are not also “real” things, despite being constructed. Real and true do not always mean the same thing.)
Beautiful As You Are:
When I was growing up, I had many bullies in school in Virginia. I was sometimes called the “ugly brown girl with a bush on her head.” And I’d come home bawling my eyes out. Racist bullies do a lot of damage, I’m sure you all know that by now. When I came back to Pakistan, I taught kindergarten and high school students. I found out that skin color is still a huge issue in our culture. Girls are made to feel horrible about their complexion if it’s dark. So I decided to write a little poem for the little girls in elementary school with some doodles. I read it to them in the playground. I’m glad things started to change after that.
Here it is.
When I was four feet and five inches,
Kids at school would say,
“Hey Mehreen, buy yourself a paper bag!
Your face ruins our day!”
I asked them why they thought so,
My mom said I was pretty swell?
“That’s cause your hair is bushy!
Plus your skin’s dark as hell!”
So I wore the paper bag to school,
I wore it day and night.
I thought I’d be accepted
If I was out of sight.
Then I grew up and left home,
For college and other big plans,
I made friends around the world,
I even made some fans!
I learned that people are beautiful
If they love, respect and care.
What matters most is inside.
Not my skin or hair.
So if a girl is tall and pink,
But she’s rotten and she’s rude,
She’s not pretty in any way.
I’d rather have her boo’ed.
And if a girl is small and dark
And her heart is made of gold,
Trust me, she’ll be plain beautiful
Even when she’s old.
Now here’s a little secret.
Brown is a beautiful shade.
Of warmth, strength and sweetness
This strong color is made.
But that doesn’t matter,
Oh it doesn’t matter at all.
If someone treats you for your skin tone,
They’re not worth the fall.
You’re beautiful and you’re lovely,
Because you are you.
Aw, man, this rhymes too nicely.
Because it’s really true.
Your skin is just a cover,
Your skin is just some meat,
It doesn’t make you bitter
And it doesn’t make you sweet.
What makes you gorgeous and lovely,
Comes right out of here.
So now you know you’re perfect.
Oh, you’re beautiful, my dear.
Thought I’d share it here after it got published in South Africa for girls and WOC. To everyone who’s ever felt bad about themselves: Stop. You’re beautiful.
Shadeism sucks. To all the brown and black women in the world.
However, a series of recent attacks on schools across the country has lead the Afghan government to close down some 500 schools. In an act of defiance - schoolgirls carry on attending lessons.
Before the proponents of the US invasion jump on to hijack this achievement by Afghan girls as something as a “positive outcome” of the American war on Afghanistan, stop. They weren’t able to do this because of the war; they did this because they are resilient, optimistic and strong human beings. The US war did not exactly emancipate or empower these women. Every form of defiance they have shown was because they possessed the will to overcome obstacles - both foreign and domestic - not because of some jingoistic invasion. Today they defy extremism - whether displayed by the Taliban or the US Army - on their own. This achievement belongs to the Afghan women.
More power to them.