Accepted paper:

From Dialogue to Polylogue: Comparing feminist thought from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East


Martina Kopf (University of Vienna)
Anke Graness (University of Hildesheim)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses epistemic entanglements between Africa, the Middle East and Latin America in feminist debates on gender and religion and eco-feminist thought. We thus argue to open feminist dialogues on decoloniality between Africa and Europe to a polylogue including more regions of the world.

Paper long abstract:

For several years, Anke Graness and Martina Kopf have been teaching courses on feminist theory in intercultural perspective at the University of Vienna. These courses have been designed to introduce students in feminist theories from Africa and the African Diaspora, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East and to help familiarize them with intercultural dimensions of feminist debates. Here it became clear that there are epistemic connections between the different approaches of feminist thought in Africa, Latin America and the Islamic world. These are most obvious in the critical distancing from 'white' feminism and the questioning of terms and concepts developed in Europe or North America, as well as in fundamentally intersectional approaches that understand gender as one aspect among others in oppressive relations women have to face across the globe. Thus, in the analyses of gender relations, global asymmetries in access to resources play an essential role, as do the categories of 'race' and religion. We would like to address these epistemic entanglements on the basis of two themes: 1. the relation between feminist approaches and gender-conservative values in Muslim thinkers' debates on gender justice; and 2. eco-feminist approaches to environmentalist concerns from Africa and Latin America. In particular, we are interested in the question: What does "decolonial" mean here and for whom? On the basis of selected texts we want to argue for an intercultural opening, i.e. the replacement of a dialogue between Africa and Europe by a polylogue that includes more regions of the world.

panel Soc05
Epistemic disruptions and connections: dialogues on decoloniality in/and feminist African studies