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Third World Women and the Politics of Difference in Feminist Representations
5-7th March 2015
Lahore College for Women University, Lahore Pakistan

European colonialism is a historical event of the distant past; however, Europe is still a reference point for social, cultural, and political debates. Gayatri Spivak in her essay ‘Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism’ argues that Eurocentrism presents ‘Third Worlds as distant cultures, exploited but with rich intact literary heritages waiting to be recovered, interpreted, and curricularized’ (Spivak, p. 243). This information retrieval approach makes dialogue between so-called ‘Third World’ and the west difficult, especially in terms of gender politics. The western concept of ‘sisterhood’ and ‘common oppression’ are thus problematic for women of colour, appropriating their experiences and ignoring the history of race and colonisation. Western feminism here refers to the movement inspired by writers such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, Simone De Beauvoir and Kate Millett with their principal focus on the social and existential problems confronting European and American women. In this conference we seek to explore critical issues related to the representation and experience of women of the region categorised as ‘Third World’ by former imperial powers. However, we must clarify that we are not using the term ‘Third World Women’ as one homogenous commodity; rather we encourage the participants to locate the plurality of gender politics in the work of women writers who belong to the regions once colonised by Europe.
Topics of presentation may include but are not necessarily limited to the following:

• Colonialism and its legacies
• The Suffragist movement and women of colour
• Feminism and South-Asian writings
• Islamic/Muslim feminism
• Women of colour and media
• Historiography of Third World feminism
• Representations of women in South-Asian and African oral traditions
• Geographies of feminism
• The Arabian Nights and the female narrator
• Politics of gender in the work of Pakistani writers
• Representations of women in partition narrative
• Colonial education and the question of gender
• Women, nationalism, patriotism
• Homoeroticism and Third World Women

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers for the conference. Please submit 200-250 word abstract with a short biographical statement by 15th January 2015. For further information please contact Dr Sadia Zulfiqar at sadiazee7@hotmail.com

 

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