‘Women’ in ‘Asia’: An Interrogation

Devleena Ghosh


Abstract

The articles in this special issue section of PORTAL had their first iteration as presentations in the Eighth Women in Asia Conference held at the University of Technology Sydney in 2005, the theme of which was ‘Shadow Lines’. The concept ‘Women in Asia’ is problematic since some of the major debates in gender or women’s studies have focused on the diversity of women’s life worlds and beings and the contested nature of the term ‘Asia’. As a theme it has the potential to become a holdall phrase for scholarship, research and activist work ‘from Suez to Suva’. However, reflecting on these difficult terms can be a creative and rewarding process. The attempt to locate Australia within the region, rather than within a putative ‘west’, and to deal with her geography rather than just her white history, can be an effective way of challenging many current ‘white blindfold’ discourses. At the same time, gendered analyses of society, politics and culture that attempt a re-insertion of ‘herstories’ into academic discourses have to be sophisticated enough to demonstrate the intrinsic gendering of all-embracing, supposedly ‘neutral’, ideas such as race, nationalism, ethics, and the state, rather than simply ‘adding in’ women. The marginalised spaces of women’s activities have to be legitimated as crucial elements of all social relations, highlighting the intimate relationships and connections between men and women. These concerns animate the papers collected in this issue.

Keywords

Gender, Asia, women, feminism

Full Text

PDF

References

Chatterjee, P. 1993, The Nation and its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Devi, N. 1950, Desh Saradiya Sankhya, Anandabazar Patrika, Calcutta.

Forster, E.M. 2000 (1908), A Passage to India, Penguin, Harmondsworth.

Heng, G. 1997, 'A Great Way to Fly": Nationalism, the State and the Varieties of Third-world Feminism', in Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures, eds M. J. Alexander & C. T. Mohanty, Routledge, New York, 30-46."

Howell, P. 2004, quoted in 'Anonymous review article on Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule"', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute vol. 10, no. 3 (September): 709-10."

Kandiyoti, D. 1991, 'Identity and its Discontents: Women and the Nation', Millennium: Journal of International Studies, vol. 20, no. 3, 429-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/03058298910200031501

Kumar, A. 2000, Passport Photos, Penguin Books, New Delhi, London, New York and Victoria.

Loomba, A. 1998, Colonialism/Postcolonialism, Routledge, New York.

McClintock, A.1995, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest, Routledge, New York.

McClintock, A. 1997, 'No Longer in a Future Heaven": Gender, Race and Nationalism', in Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation and Postcolonial Perspectives, eds A. McClintock, A. Mufti & E. Shohat, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. 89-112."

Marx, K. 1954 (1852), The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Progress Publishers, Moscow.

Mohanty, C.T. 1984, 'Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses' in boundary vol. 213, no. 1: 333-57.

Mohanty, C.T. 1991, 'Introduction: Cartographies of Struggle: Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism', in Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, eds C. Mohanty, A. Russo & L. Torres, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana. 1-47.

Nandy, A. 1983, The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism, Oxford University Press, Delhi.

Midgley, A. 1998, Gender and Imperialism, Manchester University Press, Manchester.

Minh-ha, T.T. 1989, Women, Native, Other, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Papastergiadis, N. 1998, Dialogues in the Diasporas: Essays and Conversations on Cultural Identity, Rivers Oram Press, London and New York, 1998.

Peterson, K.H. & A. Rutherford (eds) 1986, A Double Colonization: Colonial and Post-colonial Women, Dangaroo Press, Denmark and England.

Pratt, M.L. 1992, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, Routledge, London and New York.

Said, E. 1979, Orientalism, Vintage, New York.

Sangari, K.K & S. Vaid (eds) 1989, Recasting Women: Essays on Colonial History, Kali for Women, New Delhi.

Spivak, G. 1987, 'Can the Subaltern Speak?', in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, eds C. Nelson & L. Grossberg, University of Illinois Press, 271-315

Stoler, A.L. 1995, Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault's History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things, Duke University Press, Durham, NC, and London.

Subrahmanyam, S. 1997, The Career and Legend of Vasco da Gama, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

West, L.A. (ed.) 1997, Feminist Nationalism, Routledge, London and New York.

Yuval-Davis, N. & F. Anthias 1989, WomenNationState, Macmillan, London.