Baca Zinn and Thornton Dill - Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism

Baca Zinn and Thornton Dill - Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism

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Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism Author(s): Maxine Baca Zinn and Bonnie Thornton Dill Source: FeministStudies, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Summer, 1996), pp. 321-331 Published by: Feminist Studies, Inc. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3178416 . Accessed: 22/08/2011 13:44 . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Feminist Studies, Inc. is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Feminist Studies. http://www.jstor.org
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T1iEORIZING DIFFERENCE FROM MULTIRACIAL FEMINISM MAXINE BACA ZINN and BONNIE THORNTON DILL Women of color have long challenged the hegemony of femi- nisms constructed primarily around the lives of white middle- class women. Since the late 1960s, U.S. women of color have taken issue with unitary theories of gender. Our critiques grew out of the widespread concern about the exclusion of women of color from feminist scholarship and the misinterpretation of our experiences,1 and ultimately "out of the very discourses, de- nying, permitting, and producing difference."2 Speaking simul- taneously from "within and against" both women's liberation and antiracist movements, we have insisted on the need to challenge systems of domination,3 not merely as gendered sub- jects but as women whose lives are affected by our location in multiple hierarchies. Recently, and largely in response to these challenges, work that links gender to other forms of domination is increasing. In this article, we examine this connection further as well as the ways in which difference and diversity infuse contemporary feminist studies. Our analysis draws on a conceptual frame- work that we refer to as "multiracial feminism."4 This perspec- tive is an attempt to go beyond a mere recognition of diversity and difference among women to examine structures of domina- tion, specifically the importance of race in understanding the social construction of gender. Despite the varied concerns and multiple intellectual stances which characterize the feminisms of women of color, they share an emphasis on race as a primary force situating genders differently. It is the centrality of race, of institutionalized racism, and of struggles against racial op- pression that link the various feminist perspectives within this framework. Together, they
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Baca Zinn and Thornton Dill - Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism

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