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Week 7 Lecture Notes (along with Powerpoint Notes)

Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
Victoria Tahmasebi

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WEEK 7: Postcolonial Feminism
Refers to a broad and heterogeneous body of scholarly work
The common characteristics:
pays attention to discourses and ideologies of colonialism
Studies the symbolic and material effects of subjugation under colonialism and after
Studies the voices of women located at the peripheries of Western powers.
Definition: refers to a broad and heterogeneous body of scholarly work
Two common characteristics: colonialism is the history of the hegemony of the east and
west societies and empires; and second is that they all study the symbolic (the culture, the
ideology, the social relations) and material (the economic relations) effects of colonialism
It is the voice of women at the margins of western society
Postcolonial feminism covered the voice of women who live in those western societies and
whose voices are marginalized
Human Nature
Inseparable from the individuals’ location in the social and political context
Influenced and shaped by colonial power relations
Rejects universalist and unitary conceptions of human nature
- Universalist
- Unitary
Postcolonial feminism: human nature is very much influenced and shaped by different
points of colonial relations; for example the power imbalance between few western powers
and the rest of the world (what we refer to as the North-South regions) is how
Universalist and unitary will come on exam
Rejects any universal (means to have a universal/general idea of what human nature is) and
unitary (means to have a non-conflictual and homogenous understanding of human nature;
we as human beings have one identity) conceptions of human nature – there is no one
single human nature and each identity has in itself conflicting aspects to it; so different
parts of human nature are not in harmony
Universal and unitary notions of human nature of identity are part of colonizing – and this
should be rejected
No universal definition of womanhood
European grand narrative
Cultural differences among women are important
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