4W Summit Plenary I: Transformative Transnational Feminism: Theory and Praxis for the Future of Feminism

The birth of transnational feminism responded to an urgent need to bridge feminist endeavors across boundaries of identity and geography under neo-liberal market globalization. The plenary speakers argue that transformational built on a foundation of transnational feminism is essential to the women’s wellbeing internationally.  They will discuss models of transnational feminist activism and pedagogies that have helped to shift what some have called theSavior Complex’ of feminism based in white western women’s experience to a transformative feminism built upon shared access to defining actions and power sharing.

This movement has raised theoretical questions regarding the problem of who has the authority to intervene in another culture given West/East, North/South, economic, and racial privilege.  Dr. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has assailed the deliberate aporia of “Eastern women’s voice consciousness” in Western feminisms. Dr. Leila Ahmed has critiqued the intuitive nature of US women’s conviction that Islam is oppressive. Joyce Zonana has explained that “Feminist Orientalism” facilitates Western feminists’ need for “self -redemption.” In answer to these dilemmas, Dr. Chandra Talpade Mohanty has asserted that transnational solidarity is achieved through anticapitalist struggle. Author, poet and activist Gloria Anzaldua asserted that privileged outsiders can adopt the double consciousness of racial and sexual “minorities.” Dr. Sandra Harding offers standpoint theory. Others have emphasize giving deference to local feminists in defining struggles and activist actions they may demand.

The panelists will discuss whether intercultural, transformative feminist collaborations that involve diverse negotiations and complex relationships can be equitably structured given that collaboration necessitates power sharing. They will ask the following questions regarding how we approach our research, teaching, and activism.  To what extent can outsiders’ interventions be unbiased? How can outsiders identify local feminist leadership? Should outsiders always refrain from aggressive interventions?  How can we structure our classrooms in ways that allow transnational activists and scholars to speak for themselves? The panelists will reaffirm that transformational feminism is essential to women’s wellbeing globally and discuss models of transnational feminist activism and pedagogies based on their praxis.

(Some presenters will join us virtually)

This lecture is a part of the 4W Summit on Women, Gender and Well-being and is free and open to the public.