About this topic

Postcolonial feminist philosophy foregrounds and analyzes the impact of colonial histories and Western imperialism on racialized gender constructions within and across geopolitical locales.  A central intervention is the exposure and critique of white/Anglo Western cultural and racial assumptions grounding universal applications of the term “woman” to identify, assess, and (mis)diagnose agential (inter)subjectivity, patriarchal victimization, and feminist struggles for autonomy in non-Western contexts.  In addition to critiques of Western feminist reductions of third world women to passive victims in need of Anglo saviors, postcolonial feminist philosophy takes as a central concern the consequences of indigenous adaptations of heteropatriarchy on nationalist, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist and anti-racist struggles in the global South.

Key works Chandra Talpade Mohanty's groundbreaking 1984 essay, "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses" (Mohanty 1984), elaborates a trenchant critique against the totalizing tendencies of Western feminism and its discursive colonization of third world women.  Of similar impact in defining the central problematic in postcolonial feminism is Gayatri Spivak's "Can the Subaltern Speak" (Spivak 1988), wherein she analyzes the Western imperialist over-determination of the subaltern woman such that the very capacity for her to speak and be heard beyond Eurocentric epistemic limitations comes into question.  Trinh T. Minha's Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism (Minha 1989) theorizes "difference" both as it is used to objectify and dehumanize third world women and women of color as well as the need to re-conceive it as a source of insight for liberatory multicultural feminist avenues.  Uma Narayan (Narayan 1997) departs from this central Women of Color and postcolonial feminist theorizing of cultural difference as a source of liberatory meaning-making, identifying contradictions generated in both Western and Indian contexts about the "traditional" violences against women and the need to mine these contradictions for non-reductive feminist meaning-making.
Introductions Spivak 1988; Narayan 1997; Minha 1989; Mohanty 1991.
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  1. Identity, Ethics, and Nonviolence in Postcolonial Theory: A Rahnerian Theological Assessment.Susan Abraham - 2007 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    In this book, Abraham argues that a theological imagination can expand the contours of postcolonial theory through a reexamination of notions of subjectivity, gender, and violence in a dialogical model with Karl Rahner. She raises the question of whether postcolonial theory, with its disavowal of religious agency, can provide an invigorating occasion for Catholic theology.
  2. Listening to the Silent Voices: A Feminist Political Philosophy of Social Criticism.Brooke A. Ackerly - 1997 - Dissertation, Stanford University
    In the real world, many people suffer as a function of their subordinate position in social hierarchy. Deliberative, relativist, and essentialist political theorists have sketched philosophies of social criticism that alone are inadequate for criticizing some harmful social values, practices, and norms. Certainly, theirs are critical theories in the sense that they are actionable, coherent, and self-reflective. But they are not adequate theories of social criticism. They do not specify satisfactorily the roles, qualifications, and methodology of social critics worried about (...)
  3. Interview with Gayatri Spivak.Walter Adamson - 1986 - Thesis Eleven 15 (1):91-97.
  4. Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures.Jacqui Alexander - 1996 - Routledge.
  5. Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures.M. Jacqui Alexander & Chandra Talpade Mohanty (eds.) - 2013 - Routledge.
    ____Feminist Geneaologies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic__ ____Futures__ provides a feminist anaylsis of the questions of sexual and gender politics, economic and cultural marginality, and anti-racist and anti-colonial practices both in the "West" and in the "Third World." This collection, edited by Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty, charts the underlying theoretical perspectives and organization practices of the different varieties of feminism that take on questions of colonialism, imperialism, and the repressive rule of colonial, post-colonial and advanced capitalist nation-states. It provides a (...)
  6. [Book Review] the Colonial Harem. [REVIEW]Malek Alloula - 1990 - Feminist Studies 16:345-380.
  7. Nehruvian Science and Postcolonial India.David Arnold - 2013 - Isis 104 (2):360-370.
  8. The Reproduction of Whiteness: Race and the Regulation of the Gendered Body.Alison Bailey & Jacquelyn N. Zita - 2007 - Hypatia 22 (2):vii-xv.
    Historically critical reflection on whiteness in the United States has been a long-standing practice in slave folklore and in Mexican resistance to colonialism, Asian American struggles against exploitation and containment, and Native American stories of contact with European colonizers. Drawing from this legacy and from the disturbing silence on "whiteness" in postsecondary institutions, critical whiteness scholarship has emerged in the past two decades in U.S. academies in a variety of disciplines. A small number of philosophers, critical race theorists, postcolonial theorists, (...)
  9. Sarah Grimké: Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and Other Essays.Elizabeth Ann Bartlett - 1989 - Hypatia 4 (1):175-180.
  10. Mondi (post)coloniali. Considerazioni su razza, genere e sesso, soggettività e temporalità.Karina Bidaseca - 2013 - Scienza and Politica. Per Una Storia Delle Dottrine 25 (49).
    Starting from a comparison with post-colonial studies, the essay focuses on the importance of activating a South/South dialogue in order to analyze both the genealogies and legacies of colonialism and the violent tensions that cross the contemporary colonies. Inside this perspective, a fundamental place is dedicated to feminist reflection, from the critique of a western «salvationist» feminism to the idea of a «third feminism» or border feminism: new conceptual instruments and new theoretical practices through which we can re-write the relations (...)
  11. Westernization and Women's Rights: Non-Western European Responses to Mill's Subjection of Women, 1869-1908.E. H. Botting & S. Kronewitter - 2012 - Political Theory 40 (4):466-496.
    The publication in 1869 of Mill's Subjection ofWomen gave rise to philosophical and political responses beyond Western Europe on the relationship between Westernization and women's rights in developing, colonial, and post-colonial countries. Through the first comparative study of the Subjection of Women alongside the forewords to six of its earliest non-Western European editions, we explore how this book provoked local intellectuals in Russia, Chile, and India to engage its liberal utilitarian, imperial, Orientalist, and feminist ideas. By showing how Mill's Western (...)
  12. Postfeminisms: Feminism, Cultural Theory, and Cultural Forms.Ann Brooks - 1997 - Routledge.
  13. Arguing with the Phallus: Feminist, Queer, and Postcolonial Theory: A Psychoanalytic Contribution.Jan Campbell - 2000 - Distributed in the Usa Exclusively by St. Martin's Press.
    What can psychoanalysis offer contemporary arguments in the fields of Feminism, Queer Theory and Post-Colonialism? Jan Campbell introduces and analyses the way that psychoanalysis has developed and made problematic models of subjectivity linked to issues of sexuality, ethnicity, gender, and history. Via discussions of such influential and diverse figures as Lacan, Irigaray, Kristeva, Dollimore, Bhabha, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker, Campbell uses psychoanalysis as a mediatory tool in a range of debates across the human sciences, while also arguing for a (...)
  14. Judith Butler and Political Theory: Troubling Politics.Samuel Allen Chambers - 2008 - Routledge.
  15. Subjectivity in Motion: Caribbean Women's Articulations of Being From Fanon/Capécia to the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands.Myriam J. A. Chancy - 2015 - Hypatia 30 (2):434-449.
    In this essay I show that texts by early Caribbean women writers, such as the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, reveal and resist the effects of colonial paradigms by leaving textual traces of how such paradigms can effectively be countered and overturned. I arrive at such a reading of Seacole via an analysis of Frantz Fanon's reading of Mayotte Capécia's turn-of-the-century novel, Je suis martiniquaise, in light of advances in postcolonial and feminist theory. I argue that doing (...)
  16. What Does It Mean to Be a Postcolonial Feminist? The Artwork of Mithu Sen.Sushmita Chatterjee - 2016 - Hypatia 31 (1):22-40.
    This article examines what the work of New Delhi-based artist Mithu Sen brings to thinking about being a postcolonial feminist. Using images from Sen's solo exhibit in New Delhi and New York titled Half Full, I theorize on the complexities that proliferate when thinking about postcolonial feminism. Sen's images play with “an” identity to showcase the hybrid and mobile configuration of postcolonial subjectivity. Sen's provocative aesthetic urges us to rethink defining a set of conditions or tenets for postcolonial feminism. Rather, (...)
  17. Ashapurna Devi’s “Women” – Emerging Identities in Colonial and Postcolonial Bengal.Suchorita Chattopadhyay - 2012 - Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal 2 (1):75-96.
    Ashapurna Devi, a prominent Bengali woman novelist (1909–1995) focused on women’s creativity and enlightenment during the colonial and postcolonial period in Bengal, India. She herself displayed immense will power, tenacity and an indomitable spirit which enabled her to eke out a prominent place for herself in the world of creative writing. Her life spanned both colonial India and independent India and these diverse experiences shaped her mind and persona and helped her to portray the emerging face of the enlightened Bengali (...)
  18. Feminism in India.Maitrayee Chaudhuri - 2004
  19. Spectral Nationality: The Idea of Freedom in Modern Philosophy and the Experience of Freedom in Postcoloniality.Pheng Cheah - 1998 - Dissertation, Cornell University
    This dissertation examines the tribulations and the futures of radical national literary culture as a vehicle of freedom in the postcolonial South within the general context of the vicissitudes of the postcolonial nation-state in contemporary neocolonial globalisation. In philosophical modernity, culture is regarded as the means to overcome finitude and the realm where the ideal of human freedom can be incarnated. Consequently, the modern idea of freedom culminates in a politics of culture. Culture supplies the ontological paradigm for different models (...)
  20. Famine, Widowhood, and Paid Work: Seeking Gender Justice in South Asia.Martha Alter Chen - 2008 - In Kaushik Basu & Ravi Kanbur (eds.), Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen: Volume I: Ethics, Welfare, and Measurement and Volume Ii: Society, Institutions, and Development. Oxford University Press.
  21. Conceptualizing Generation and Transformation in Women’s Writing.Urszula Chowaniec & Marzenna Jakubczak - 2012 - Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal 2 (1):5-16.
    The main objective of this collection of papers is to explore ideas of generation and transformation in the context of postdependency discourse as it may be traced in women’s writing published in Bengali, Polish, Czech, Russian and English. As we believe, literature does not have merely a descriptive function or a purely visionary quality but serves also as a discursive medium, which is rhetorically sophisticated, imaginatively influential and stimulates cultural dynamics. It is an essential carrier of collective memory and a (...)
  22. When Love and Violence Meet: Women's Agency and Transformative Politics in Rubaiyat Hossain's Meherjaan.Elora Halim Chowdhury - 2015 - Hypatia 30 (4):760-777.
    In official and unofficial histories, and in cultural memorializations of the 1971 war for Bangladeshi independence, the treatment of women's experiences—more specifically the unresolved question of acknowledgment of and accountability to birangonas, “war heroines” —has met with stunning silence or erasure, on the one hand, or with narratives of abject victimhood, on the other. By contrast, the film Meherjaan revolves around the stories of four women during and after the war, and most centrally the relationship between a Bengali woman and (...)
  23. Science and Social Inequality: Feminist and Postcolonial Issues (Review).Sharyn Clough - 2008 - Hypatia 23 (2):pp. 197-202.
  24. Missionary Positions.Ann E. Cudd - 2005 - Hypatia 20 (4):164-182.
    : Postcolonial feminist scholars have described some Western feminist activism as imperialistic, drawing a comparison to the work of Christian missionaries from the West, who aided in the project of colonization and assimilation of non-Western cultures to Western ideas and practices. This comparison challenges feminists who advocate global human rights ideals or objective appraisals of social practices, in effect charging them with neocolonialism. This essay defends work on behalf of universal human rights, while granting that activists should recognize their limitations (...)
  25. Cultural Criminology and the Engagement with Race, Gender and Post-Colonial Identities.Chris Cunneen & Julie Stubbs - manuscript
    This chapter explores the potential of cultural criminology as a theoretical and methodological paradigm with reference to some earlier research in which we examined the high victimisation rates of Filipino women in cases of spousal homicides compared to other Australian women. Our research considers the interplay of gender, ethnicity and first world/third world relations, both materially and symbolically, in seeking to understand the women's experiences as immigrants, their postcolonial identities and their victimisation. The gendered and racialised nature of the movement (...)
  26. Colonizing and Decolonizing Minds.Marcelo Dascal - unknown
    Whereas the most visible forms of political colonialism have for the most part disappeared from the planet by the end of the millennium, several of its consequences remain with us. Criticism of colonialism, accordingly, has shifted its focus to its more subtle and lasting manifestations. Prominent among these are the varieties of what came to be known as the ‘colonization of the mind’. This is one of the forms of ‘epistemic violence’ that it is certainly the task of philosophers to (...)
  27. (Love is) the Ability of Not Knowing: Feminist Experience of the Impossible in Ethical Singularity.Dawn Rae Davis - 2002 - Hypatia 17 (2):145-161.
    : In neocolonial contexts of globalization, the epistemological terrain of radical diversity poses significant ethical challenges to transnational feminisms. In view of historical associations between knowledge and discourses of love which were conditioned by imperialist brands of humanism and benevolence under colonialism, this paper argues for a deconstructionist approach to conceptualizing love in relation to knowledge and for an ethics that severs the association with benevolence, instead making alterity the basis for its account.
  28. Toward a Postcolonial, Posthumanist Feminist Theory: Centralizing Race and Culture in Feminist Work on Nonhuman Animals.Maneesha Deckha - 2012 - Hypatia 27 (3):527-545.
    Posthumanist feminist theory has been instrumental in demonstrating the salience of gender and sexism in structuring human–animal relationships and in revealing the connections between the oppression of women and of nonhuman animals. Despite the richness of feminist posthumanist theorizations it has been suggested that their influence in contemporary animal ethics has been muted. This marginalization of feminist work—here, in its posthumanist version—is a systemic issue within theory and needs to be remedied. At the same time, the limits of posthumanist feminist (...)
  29. Postcolonial Fictions in the Roman de Perceforest: Cultural Identities and Hybridities. [REVIEW]Denyse Delcourt - 2007 - The Medieval Review 9.
  30. Self as Postcolonial Pastiche: Historical Artifact and Multicultural Ideal 'In'.Eduardo Manuel Duarte - forthcoming - Philosophy of Education.
  31. Post Colonial.Emmanuel C. Eze - forthcoming - African Philosophy: A Critical Reader.
  32. Contested Terrains of Women of Color and Third World Women.Saba Fatima, Kristie Dotson, Ranjoo Seodu Herr, Serene J. Khader & Stella Nyanzi - 2017 - Hypatia 32 (3):731-742.
    This piece contextualizes a discussion by liminal feminists on the identifiers ‘women of color’ and ‘Third World women’ that emerged from some uncomfortable and constructive conversations at the 2015 FEAST conference. I focus on concerns of marginalization and gatekeeping that are far too often reiterated within the uneasy racial dynamics among feminist philosophers.
  33. Uma Narayan, Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions, and Third World Feminism:Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions, and Third World Feminism.Marilyn Friedman - 1999 - Ethics 109 (3):668-671.
  34. Against Purity : Identity, Western Feminisms and Indian Complications.Irene Gedalof - unknown
    This thesis argues that Western feminist theoretical models of identity can be productively complicated by the insights of postcolonial feminisms. In particular, it explores ways that Western feminist theory might more adequately sustain a focus on 'women' while keeping open a space for differences such as race and nation. Part One identifies a number of themes that emerge from recent Indian feminist scholarship on the intersections of sex, gender, race, nation and community identities. Part Two uses these insights to look (...)
  35. The Problem of Exclusion in Feminist Theory and Politics: A Metaphysical Investigation Into Constructing a Category of 'Woman'.Maya J. Goldenberg - 2007 - Journal of Gender Studies 16 (2):139-153.
    The precondition of any feminist politics – a usable category of ‘woman’ – has proved to be difficult to construct, even proposed to be impossible, given the ‘problem of exclusion’. This is the inevitable exclusion of at least some women, as their lives or experiences do not fit into the necessary and sufficient condition(s) that denotes group membership. In this paper, I propose that the problem of exclusion arises not because of inappropriate category membership criteria, but because of the presumption (...)
  36. Philosophy, Postcolonialism, African-American Feminism, and the Race for Theory.Namita Goswami - 2008 - Angelaki 13 (2):73 – 91.
  37. Whitestream Feminism and the Colonialist Project: A Review of Contemporary Feminist Pedagogy and Praxis. [REVIEW]Sandy Grande - 2003 - Educational Theory 53 (3):329-346.
  38. Social Democracy, Cosmopolitan Hospitality, and Intercivilizational Peace : Lessons From Jane Addams.Judith M. Green - 2010 - In Maurice Hamington (ed.), Feminist Interpretations of Jane Addams. Pennsylvania State University Press.
  39. Book Review: Uma Narayan. Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions, and Third-World Feminism. New York: Routledge, 1997. [REVIEW]Gurleen Grewal - 2001 - Hypatia 16 (1):102-106.
  40. Scattered Hegemonies and Transnational Feminist Practices.Inderpal Grewal - 1994 - University of Minnesota.
  41. ?Patriarchal Colonialism? And Indigenism: Implications for Native Feminist Spirituality and Native Womanism.M. A. Jaimes* Guerrero - 2003 - Hypatia 18 (2):58-69.
    This essay begins with a Native American women's perspective on Early Feminism which came about as a result of Euroamerican patriarchy in U. S. society. It is followed by the myth of "tribalism," regarding the language and laws of U. S. colonialism imposed upon Native American peoples and their respective cultures. This colonialism is well documented in Federal Indian law and public policy by the U. S. government, which includes the state as well as federal level. The paper proceeds to (...)
  42. Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India (Amitrajeet A. Batabyal).A. Gupta - 2000 - Agriculture and Human Values 17 (1):111-112.
  43. Border Crossings: Multicultural and Postcolonial Feminist Challenges to Philosophy.Sandra Harding & Uma Narayan - 1998 - Hypatia 13 (3):1-5.
  44. Border Crossings: Multicultural and Postcolonial Feminist Challenges to Philosophy (Part II).Sandra Harding & Uma Narayan - 1998 - Hypatia 13 (3):1-5.
  45. Gender and Indigenous Knowledge.Maria Helen Appleton, Catherine E. Fernandez & Consuelo Quiroz L. M. Hill - 2011 - In Sandra G. Harding (ed.), The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader. Duke University Press.
  46. Third World, Transnational, and Global Feminisms.Ranjoo S. Herr - 2013 - In Patrick Mason (ed.), Encyclopedia of Race and Racism Vol.4 (second ed.). Routledge. pp. pp. 190-195.
  47. Islamist Women's Agency and Relational Autonomy.Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2018 - Hypatia 33 (2):195-215.
    Mainstream conceptions of autonomy have been surreptitiously gender-specific and masculinist. Feminist philosophers have reclaimed autonomy as a feminist value, while retaining its core ideal as self-government, by reconceptualizing it as “relational autonomy.” This article examines whether feminist theories of relational autonomy can adequately illuminate the agency of Islamist women who defend their nonliberal religious values and practices and assiduously attempt to enact them in their daily lives. I focus on two notable feminist theories of relational autonomy advanced by Marina Oshana (...)
  48. Can Transnational Feminist Solidarity Accommodate Nationalism? Reflections From the Case Study of Korean “Comfort Women”.Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2016 - Hypatia 31 (1):41-57.
    This article aims to refute the “incompatibility thesis” that nationalism is incompatible with transnational feminist solidarity, as it fosters exclusionary practices, xenophobia, and racism among feminists with conflicting nationalist aspirations. I examine the plausibility of the incompatibility thesis by focusing on the controversy regarding just reparation for Second World War “comfort women,” which is still unresolved. The Korean Council at the center of this controversy, which advocates for the rights of Korean former comfort women, has been criticized for its strident (...)
  49. Reclaiming Third World Feminism: Or Why Transnational Feminism Needs Third World Feminism.Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2014 - Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 12 (1).
    Third World and transnational feminisms have emerged in opposition to white second-wave feminists’ single-pronged analyses of gender oppression that elided Third World women’s multiple and complex oppressions in their various social locations. Consequently, these feminisms share two “Third World feminist” mandates: First, feminist analyses of Third World women’s oppression and resistance should be historically situated; and second, Third World women’s agency and voices should be respected. Despite these shared mandates, they have diverged in their proper domains of investigation, with transnational (...)
  50. A Third World Feminist Defense of Multiculturalism.Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2004 - Social Theory and Practice 30 (1):73-103.
    Many influential Western feminists of diverse backgrounds have expressed concerns that multiculturalism, while strengthening the power of racial ethnic minorities vis-à-vis the majority, worsens the position of its most vulnerable members, women. Despite their good intentions, these feminists have been consistently dismissive of the voices of racial ethnic women, many of whom argue for the importance of sustaining their own “illiberal” cultures within the Western context. I offer a Third World feminist defense of multiculturalism by paying attention to these women (...)
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