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By Kumari Jayawardena

A founding textual content of transnational feminism

For twenty-five years, Feminism and Nationalism within the 3rd World has been a necessary primer at the past due 19th- and early twentieth-century background of women’s pursuits in Asia and the center East. during this attractive and well-researched survey, Kumari Jayawardena offers feminism because it originated within the 3rd global, erupting from the categorical struggles of girls scuffling with opposed to colonial strength, for schooling or the vote, for protection, and opposed to poverty and inequality.

Journalist and human rights activist Rafia Zakaria’s foreword to this new version is an impassioned letter in elements: the 1st to Western feminists; the second one to feminists within the international South, entreating them to exploit this “compendium of lady braveness” as a bridge among ladies 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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Extra resources for Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World

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Later periods are referred to, but the study is basically historical, set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is intended as an introduction to the subject of feminism in the Third World. Many people in the Third World are not aware that their countries have a history of active feminism, or of early movements for women’s emancipation, that were supported both by women and men reformers. Moreover, as a result of a colonial-type education, many are not even familiar with the history of other Third World countries.

Similarly, European rationalism, Freemasonry, secularism and positivism were also to influence those liberal and socialist groups in Asia and Africa who were less concerned with religious revival than with social change. Religious revival and opposition to tradition generally took the same form in most Asian countries, linking together the reinterpretation of sacred texts and the reform of clerical structures; this led, in some cases, to the reduction of clerical influence. In the Middle East, Islam as it existed was seen as an obstacle to nationalist political and economic development; much was written not only about the need to return to the ‘pure’ Islam of an earlier period, but also about the idea that Islam, if reinterpreted correctly, was a rational religion compatible with social advance.

The concept of feminism has also been the cause of much confusion in Third World countries. It has variously been alleged by traditionalists, political conservatives and even certain leftists, that feminism is a product of ‘decadent’ Western capitalism; that it is based on a foreign culture of no relevance to women in the Third World; that it is the ideology of women of the local bourgeoisie; and that it alienates or diverts women, from their culture, religion and family responsibilities on the one hand, and from the revolutionary struggles for national liberation and socialism on the other.

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