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Lecture 10

POLS 2150 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Anna J. Cooper, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2150
Carol Dauda

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The Feminist Challenge
Race and Feminism
• First and second ‘waves’ grounded in earlier movements around race issues
– 19th Anti-slavery movement, mid-20th century civil rights movement
• In ‘first wave’ suffragist and feminist movement exclusively white
• Black women organized as Black women
• First ‘wave’ Black women pioneers in abolitionist movement unrecognized
– Harriet Jacobs 1813-1897
•Wrote emancipation narrative as a slave, gave lectures
– Maria Stewart 1803-1880
•Free-born, first to give public lectures
– Maryann Shadd Cady 1823-1893
•Newspaper editor
Anna Julia Cooper 1858-1964
•PhD in history
•Feminist treatise on condition of African Americans
•Promoted Black women’s leadership
• ‘Second wave’ contradictions:
– Black women could not afford rupture with men
– Were skeptical of White women’s oppression being compared to that of race
– Questioned White women having relationships with Black men
– Black women were torn between both White feminism and Black Power/Nationalist
– Black feminists came from the perspective and experience of Black women
•Writers Audre Lorde, Alice Walker and Angela Davis, bell hooks most prominent
– Womanist perspective
•Alice Walker
•Avoided ‘feminist’ label
– What comes first gender or race?
• Women as a category
– Positive feminine: Women’s experience is different and this can only be an advantage in
broadening the idea of what it is to be fully human
– Strategic value: all women are categorized as lesser than men so all women have this in
– Dilemma: movement based on white middle class
• Do all women experience gender oppression in the same way?
• Intersectionality: recognizes multiple identities of race, gender, sexuality that challenge
‘women’ as a category
• Feminism, Race, class and the bourgeois family
– Non-White families differed from the ideal
•Viewed as cultural exception based on White ideas
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