Essence of Culture and a Sense of History: A Feminist Critique of Cultural Essentialism

Hypatia 13 (2):86 - 106 (1998)
Abstract
Drawing parallels between gender essentialism and cultural essentialism, I point to some common features of essentialist pictures of culture. I argue that cultural essentialism is detrimental to feminist agendas and suggest strategies for its avoidance. Contending that some forms of cultural relativism buy into essentialist notions of culture, I argue that postcolonial feminists need to be cautious about essentialist contrasts between "Western" and "Third World" cultures
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