Blogging the Theoretical

Revised-Alexandra Troli

October 12, 2011 · No Comments

Knowledge is power and individuals need to begin decolonizing it in order for radical change to take place, “not just working (or waiting) for a revolution” (Mohanty 4). One aspect of Mohanty’s book is based on the marginalization of “Third World Woman”. Individuals in the West need not to classify “the production of the Third World Woman as a singular, monolithic subject” (Mohanty 17). Even when women share the same culture, they are still different in their own way, for Mohanty stress’ that “our most expansive and inclusive visions of feminism need to be attentive to borders while learning to transcend them” (Mohanty 2); hence feminism without border’s.

The presence of borders in one’s life can be both a positive and negative experience. These borders shape the way we see and experience the world around us. They can be both “exclusionary and enabling” (Mohanty 2). For example, in chapter eight Mohanty addresses the struggles she faces when she returns home when her own Hindu family dismisses her because her “nonresident Indian” status makes her unable to possibly understand the “Muslim problem”. However, that “same green card has always been viewed with suspicion by leftist and feminist friends, who demand evidence of her ongoing commitment to a socialist and democratic India” (Mohanty131). Another example involves the borders set in place for the Western woman. These borders allow the world to see her as “educated, modern, having control over their own bodies and sexualities, and the freedom to make their own decisions” (Mohanty 22). Contrary to the American women, border’s in place for the Third World Woman has allowed the world to view them as a homogeneous unit. “These women lead an essentially truncated life based on her feminine gender and her being Third World”(Mohanty 22) allowing some to be viewed as “ignorant, poor, uneducated, tradition-bound, domestic, family oriented, and victimized” (Mohanty 22). Unfortunately some of these borders are created from Western national and capitalist domination creating the assumption that the U.S corporate culture is the norm. This is especially the case in higher education and is emphasized when Mohanty critiques the methods used to analyze Third World Women by Western feminists. For example, it is common in Western scholars to identify Third World women as victims. This is why decolonizing knowledge is crucial because individuals need not to be corrupted by false generalizations and acknowledge the differences and commonalities among all women.

Decolonizing involves “profound transformations of self, community, and governance structures”(Mohanty 7) that will result in “not only the creation of new kinds of self-governance but also the creation of new men and women” (Mohanty 8).

Borders come in many disguises, for they are lines drawn through “nations, races, classes, sexualities, religions, and disabilities. Feminist with out borders must envision change and social justice to work across these lines of demarcation and division” (Mohanty 2). After all, there is a commonality of struggle for women around the world regardless of the borders that “define” them.


Categories: Chandra Mohanty · Troli

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