Chandra Mohanty

Chandra Mohanty - Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship...

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Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Coioniai Discourses Chandra Talpade Mohanty It ought to be of some political significance at least that the term "colonization" has come to denote a variety of phenomena in recent feminist and left writings in general. From its analytic value as a category of exploitative economic exchange in both traditional and contemporary marxisms (particularly contemporary theorists such as Baran, Amin and Gunder-Frank)' to its use by feminist women of color in the U.S. to describe the appropriation of their experiences and struggles by hegemonic white women's movements,^ colonization has been used to characterize everything from the most evident economic and political hierarchies to the production of a particular cultural dis- course about what is called the "Third World."' However sophisti- cated or problematical its use as an explanatory construct, colonization almost invariably implies a relation of structural domination, and a supression—often violent—of the heterogeneity of the subject(s) in question. What I wish to analyze is specifically the production of the "Third World Woman" as a singular monolithic subject in some recent (Western) feminist texts. The definition of colonization I wish to invoke here is a predominantly discursive
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been articulated in the U.S. and Western Europe. My concern about such writings derives from my own implication and investment in contemporary debates in feminist theory, and the urgent poiitical necessity (especiaiiy in the age of Reagan) of forming strategic coaiitions across ciass, race, and nationai boundaries. Clearly Western feminist discourse and politicai practice is neither singular nor homogeneous in its goals, interests or analyses. However, it is possibie to trace a coherence of effects resulting from the implicit assumption of "the West" (in all its com- plexities and contradictions) as the primary referent in theory and praxis. My reference to "Western feminism" is by no means intended to imply that it is a monolith. Rather, I am attempting to draw attention to the similar effects of various textual strategies used by
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Chandra Mohanty - Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship...

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