How is Gender Relevant to Comparative Philosophy?

Nkiru Nzegwu
State University of New York (SUNY)
The symposium, “How is gender relevant to comparative philosophy,” focuses on relevance of gender as an analytic and critical tool in comparative philosophical understanding and debate. Nkiru Nzegwu argues that gender as conceived by contemporary Euro-American feminism did not exist in pre-colonial Yorùbá as well as many Native American societies, and that therefore employing gender as a conceptual category in understanding the philosophies of pre-colonial Yorùbá and other non-gendered societies constitutes a profound mistake. What’s more, doing so amounts to a totalizing Euro-American colonial imposition that does violence to nongendered societies that reject gender as an ontological category. Hence, gender is ill-suited as a universal comparative philosophical tool. Nzegwu’s three co-symposiasts, Mary I. Bockover, Maitrayee Chaudhuri, and María Luisa Femenías enrich and complicate this question by bringing to bear both conceptual, ethical and empirical considerations drawn from the United States, India, and Latin America respectively.
Keywords motherhood  Gender  sex  seniority  Yorùbá
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