Negotiating “Feminisms” through Time & Space:
A Comparative Analysis of the Problematic Legacy of Feminism in Egypt & the United States

Postcolonial Feminism and the Egyptian Context
Sara Salem, Ethnic Studies

State Violence and the Quest for Race-Conscious Feminist Praxis
Rekia Jibrin, Social & Cultural Studies, Graduate School of Education

The question of “feminism” has long been contentious in postcolonial contexts across the Global South. The reasons for this, however, remain important to probe in light of the discursive assumptions behind both the term itself and mainstream feminist movements. This panel seeks to explore the ways in which the legacy of feminism has played a crucial role in the apparent rejection of the term and/or movement in the Global South. We argue that this rejection should not be understood as a rejection of notions of gender justice itself but instead should be contextualized in light of the problematic construction of feminism along the lines of a Eurocentric liberalism.  Such a construction renders it out of place in contexts that conceptualize gender and racial justice, differently. Contexts in the Global South often conceptualize gender as intersecting with other structures such as imperialism, capitalism, and so on, and this is often at odds with forms of feminism that are constructed Eurocentrically.

Focusing discussion on historical US and contemporary Egyptian case studies, the presenters formulate a genealogy of the term feminist and the movement it connotes, highlighting the ways in which underlying liberal assumptions marginalizes political possibilities within movements for liberation and racial justice.