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Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World

A founding text of transnational feminism
For twenty-five years, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World has been an essential primer on the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century history of women’s movements in Asia and the Middle East. In this engaging and well-researched survey, Kumari Jayawardena presents feminism as it originated in the Third World, erupting from the specific struggles of women fighting against colonial power, for education or the vote, for safety, and against poverty and inequality.

Journalist and human rights activist Rafia Zakaria’s foreword to this new edition is an impassioned letter in two parts: the first to Western feminists; the second to feminists in the Global South, entreating them to use this “compendium of female courage” as a bridge between women of different nations.

Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World was chosen as one of the top twenty Feminist Classics of this Wave, 1970–1990, by Ms. magazine, and won the Feminist Fortnight Award in the UK.

Reviews

  • “Seek out the book … Its sheer scope … not only allows for fascinating comparisons but also shows Third World women defining themselves and being influenced by other Third World women rather than in relation to the West … The book proves that feminist ideas and movements are not an import from the West [and] shows clearly that the tradition of women’s struggles is firmly embedded in these countries’ histories.”
  • “An ambitious book … valuable and compelling.”
  • “Excellently researched and interesting … well worth a read.”

Blog

  • Acts of Dissent Through History

    The Verso Book of Dissent: Revolutionary Words from Three Millennia of Rebellion and Resistance is a compendium of revolt and resistance throughout the ages, updated to include resistance to war and economic oppression from Beijing and Cairo to Moscow and New York City.

    To celebrate the release of the new edition - 50% off at the moment as part of our end-of-year sale
    we've present a selection of key moments of dissent from the book.


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  • Verso's Feminism and Gender Bookshelf


    - Hackney Flashers, Who's still holding the baby?, 1978

    They say it is love. We say it is unwaged work.
    They call it frigidity. We call it absenteeism.
    Every miscarriage is a work accident.

    - a feminist pamphlet calling for Wages for Housework written by Silvia Federici in 1975.

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  • A History of Struggle: Feminism and Nationalism in the 21st Century

    Dalia Gebrial responds to a history of women's movements to ask how a transnational feminist politics of solidarity can change and embolden our vision of the world. 

    The question of transnational solidarity has progressively faded away from the realm of feminist conversation. The idea of intersectionality – a powerful descriptor of how seemingly circumscribed systems of oppression operate through and alongside one other – has been reduced to representative diversity politics: a coalition of limited but energy-consuming practices of privilege-checking and callouts; a seemingly immovable emphasis on bodies and checklists as the prime marker of Good Praxis. Solidarity has been supplanted in favour of ‘allyship’ and ‘standing aside’. Creating spaces of self-determination has been neutralised into creating spaces of safety. Only the personal can be political.

    Rani of Jhansi Women's Regiment of the Indian National Army, training, early–mid 1940s. via End of Empire

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