Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World by Kumari Jayawardena

By Kumari Jayawardena

A founding textual content of transnational feminism

For twenty-five years, Feminism and Nationalism within the 3rd World has been an important primer at the overdue 19th- and early twentieth-century heritage of women’s pursuits in Asia and the center East. during this enticing and well-researched survey, Kumari Jayawardena offers feminism because it originated within the 3rd international, erupting from the categorical struggles of girls combating opposed to colonial energy, for schooling or the vote, for safeguard, and opposed to poverty and inequality.

Journalist and human rights activist Rafia Zakaria’s foreword to this re-creation is an impassioned letter in components: the 1st to Western feminists; the second one to feminists within the international South, entreating them to exploit this “compendium of girl braveness” as a bridge among girls of other nations.

Feminism and Nationalism within the 3rd World was once selected as one of many most sensible twenty Feminist Classics of this Wave, 1970–1990, by means of Ms. journal, and received the Feminist Fortnight Award within the united kingdom.

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Similarly, in those countries of Asia and Africa which had been exposed to ‘Occidentalism’, the attempts to emulate Western economic development were associated with an appreciation of Western cultural values and specially of such concepts as natural rights, liberalism and parliamentary democracy, which were perceived as the foundations for such growth. Within this framework, those nationalists who challenged foreign aggression had to tackle the problem of asserting a national identity by combating obscurantism, and by reforming and rationalizing existing structures and religious and cultural traditions.

Evliya Celebi, an 18th-century Turkish traveller and observer of European society, wrote: If the emperor encounters a woman in the street … he halts his horse and lets the woman pass. If the emperor is on foot … then he remains standing in a polite posture … takes his hat off … and shows deference to the woman, and only when she has passed does he continue on his way. This is a most extraordinary spectacle. In this country, and elsewhere in the lands of the infidels, women have the chief say and they are honoured and respected for the sake of Mother Mary.

All had faced the reality of foreign conquest, occupation or aggression. They had resisted in diverse ways, but their resistance had three common facets: first, the desire to carry out internal reforms in order to modernize their societies, it being felt that this was necessary if they were successfully to combat imperialism; second, the dismantling of those pre-capitalist structures, especially ruling dynasties and religious orthodoxies, that stood in the way of needed internal reforms; and third, the assertion of a national identity on the basis of which people could be mobilized against imperialism.

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