By Irene Gedalof

This pioneering quantity evaluations the paintings of 4 eminent western feminists - Rosi Bradiotti, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway and Luce Irigaray - and explores the connection among Indian and white western feminism. Pt. I. Indian issues. 1. girls and group identities in Indian feminisms. 2. enterprise, the self and the collective in Indian feminisms -- Pt. II. White Western feminisms and identification. three. Luce/loose connections: Luce Irigaray, sexual distinction, race and state. four. girl hassle: Judith Butler and the destabilisation of sex/gender. five. 'All that counts is the going': Rosi Braidotti's nomadic topic. 6. Donna Haraway's promising monsters -- Pt. III. opposed to purity. 7. strength, id and impure areas. eight. Theorising ladies in a postcolonial mode

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Extra resources for Against Purity: Rethinking Identity with Indian and Western Feminisms (Gender, Racism, Ethnicity)

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To speak of women as the ground of identity-defining processes can 36 INDIAN COMPLICATIONS suggest that women’s location is characterised by exclusion and abjection, by invisibility. Hasan’s approach suggests a focus on the female body as a useful body, in the Foucauldian sense, both enabled and constrained within specific relations of power. Mani’s formulation, if applied too unilaterally, suggests that the female body is only useful when it is abjected and objectified, made to serve as a passive ground for ‘games of truth’ which concern only men.

Second, I have selected material in which I have been able to identify either an explicit or implicit engagement with theoretical models of identity. This means that I am using some material which is not selfconsciously ‘doing theory’ together with some that is, and that I will be putting different theoretical approaches together and taking them in directions their authors might not have intended, and may well disagree with. I draw on feminist historical studies of India’s nationalist movement for independence from Britain, and on studies of representations of women in literature from and about the nationalist period.

As Dietrich argues: As women are crucial in the organisation of the home and the socialisation of children, cultural control over them is fundamental to the continuity, not only of the race, but of tradition and communal identity itself. […] The south Indian concept of karpu (chastity) is founded on the very real anxiety in men that if women’s sexuality is not controlled, actual identities will change in unimaginable ways. (Dietrich 1994:44) It is this second aspect of complexity models, of thinking through how and why ‘Woman’ and ‘women’ are key to the emergence of national, raced and other community identities, that provides some of the most distinctive work from Indian feminists and suggests some of the most productive complications that can come from theorising identity ‘in a postcolonial mode’.

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