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Accepted Paper:

Can the white British anthropologist speak? Of decolonial feminism in the Basque Country  
Margaret Bullen (University of the Basque Country, Donostia-San Sebastián)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses tensions produced by decolonial feminism and a discourse of racialization in feminist and other social movements in the Basque Country which cause me to question the "whiteness" of my anthropology and the legitimacy of my feminism.

Paper long abstract:

In the Basque Country in recent years there has been a growing consciousness of racialization and with it, an increase in the mobilization of those who define themselves as "racialized" and use the term as part of their claims to fair treatment, equality and social justice.

This consciousness has brought certain issues into Basque social movements, including feminism, to which are central a questioning of "white feminism", racial blindness and an inability to perceive privilege. This questioning of the legitimacy of white Basque feminists is challenging a movement with an agenda of fighting oppression both in relation to gender and to being Basque, the language and the right to autonomy.

These tensions are producing an interesting but disconcerting debate in and out of the academy. A group of scholars from Feminist and Gender Studies in the University of the Basque Country decided in 2014 to set up an informal reading group to decolonial theory and feminism. As well as meeting once a month in an alternative bookshop, several members also work with excluded sectors of society and/or militate in anti-racist, feminist and pro-Basque groups.

I propose to examine my own part in this decolonial feminist discussion, with others who have moved into the Basque Country from other parts of the world. It is a discussion which I consider fundamental to my work as a feminist anthropologist who, while acknowledging whiteness of skin and Britishness of birth, wishes to distance herself from "white hegemonic feminism" whatever that may be.

Panel P145
Critical whiteness studies of movement, settlement and staying put in Europe
  Session 1 Friday 17 August, 2018, -