“We must all be feminists”: Confronting feminisms from African points of view - NAD 2016

Catarina Martins's picture
September 23, 2016
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Humanities, Women's & Gender History / Studies
Nordic Africa Days 2016

Uppsala 23-24 September

Gender and change: global challenges for Africa?


“We must all be feminists”: Confronting feminisms from African points of view

Panel organiser: Catarina Martins

E-mail of panel organisercmartins@fl.uc.pt

The recent call for a universal rally around the feminist cause by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie calls to mind the old endeavor of creating a global sisterhood by different feminist waves from the North. These have been persistently contested by non-white, non-European women, who criticize western feminism for its own racist and colonial tendencies that obliterated and oppressed the Women of the Rest when formulating feminist agendas for the West – and (imperialistically) for the Rest as well. Thus, African feminism in particular insists upon the “decolonization of gender”. African feminists question the heart of feminist epistemologies and activism from the North and do not hesitate to deeply criticize the supposed base of a global sisterhood, namely the idea of “universal” notions such as patriarchy or gender as sources of oppression (even when their socially constructed character is acknowledged).

If “we must all be feminists”, at least the “how” of the “feminists” we must be still has a lot to be debated. We wish to start with the idea that feminisms from the North participate in the coloniality of power that has generated several epistemicides, actively producing subjects and knowledges from the South as non-existent. Our intention is to question the conceptual and theoretical pillars of hegemonic feminisms, deconstructing their affiliation in western modernity. This questioning must cross disciplinary borders and encompass fundamental notions, such as “gender” and “patriarchy”, but also “power”, “emancipation”, “knowledge”, “work”, “production”, “value”, “Public / private”, “love” and “sexuality”. This panel intends to create an interdisciplinary and broad dialogue between feminist thought from Africa and the North, in which African standpoints should be analyzed by feminists from both “sides” as a pretext for a common critical revision of feminist conceptual frameworks and the creation of ampler solidarities.

Contact Info: 
Catarina Martins
Assistant Professor
School of Arts and Humanities
University of Coimbra Portugal
Senior Researcher
Center for Social Studies
University of Coimbra, Portugal