Humaira Saeed and myself currently have an open call out for a third person to join our panel at the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association conference next summer (21-23 June 2013 in Nottingham). Read more about the panel below and get in touch if you are interested!
The Feminist Killjoy in the Feminist Movement
- Terese Jonsson, London Metropolitan University – Looking for anti-racism in narratives of British feminism.
- Humaira Saeed, University of Manchester – Saving Brown Women: Transnationalism and the Third Wave
- Third paper TBC
- With respondent comments from Dr Nirmal Puwar (Goldsmiths, University of London)
These papers will address the vital role that internal critique plays in feminist politics. This work has been crucial in challenging exclusions within feminist thought, opening up conversations about the differences between women, and crucially reorienting feminism towards an intersectional analysis. This often difficult, emotionally taxing and thankless work is predominantly led by women speaking from marginalised positions: women of colour, disabled women, working class women and sex workers, among others. The papers will address some of the ways in which this work has been marginalised, and argue that internal critique needs to be understood as an important site of feminist activism. In order to focus the discussion, the panel will concentrate specifically on anti-racist critiques, although it is hoped that some of the content will have a wider relevance in relation to all forms of internal critique within feminist spaces. The panel takes its name from Sara Ahmed’s observation (2010) that the black feminist is often blamed for ‘killing feminist joy’ when she points out white women’s racism. Although there is a long and rich history of anti-racist critique within British feminism, instances of racism and white privilege continue to make disturbingly regular appearances within white-dominated feminist communities. These repetitive patterns suggest that the critiques are not being adequately taken on board within feminist movements. Instead, anti-racist work tends to be marginalised, repressed, or even completely erased within dominant accounts of feminist histories, and indeed feminist practice, especially when these histories and practices are defined from positions of privilege. As well as resulting in the frustrated labour of anti-racist feminists, white feminists’ failure to engage with these critiques seriously hinders the radical potential of feminist movement.
Call for paper: We are looking for a presenter for this panel whose work addresses the above themes. Potential topics for papers are: instances of anti-racist critique, historical or contemporary; the ongoing relevance and necessity of anti-racist critique; anti-imperial and transnational feminist interventions; and/or internal critique as activism. Please send an abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by 1st December 2012.