As Michele Barrett and Anne Phillips explain more fully, this shift was essential due to three major factors:. In particular, being mainly an imaginary product of Western feminists — either academicians or activists — the project of a global alliance could not avoid addressing the risks of:. Thus the questions that keep transnational feminism busy are: how is it possible to create an alliance among women located differently?
What kind of alliance would that be? In fact, although transnational feminism originates from a critique of the universalistic assumptions behind the modernist idea of global sisterhood, it questions neither the necessity nor the possibility of global alliances between women. In this sense, it seems clear that the difficulty of transnational feminism, but also its challenge, is how to promote a worldwide alliance among women not haunted by the specter of Western imperialism.
To this purpose any possible discursive continuity between the political project underpinning transnational feminism and modernity needs to be recognized and examined and critical category of thought need to be unchained from old paradigms. As Kaplan states:.
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The claiming of a world space for women raises temporal questions as well as spatial consideration, question of history as well as place. Can such claims be imagined outside the conceptual parameters of modernity? Moreover it facilitates the task to address more clearly questions about who is speaking, when, from which location, and to trace back what is the origin of discourses within transnational feminism and whose standpoints they represent.
Indeed, since the first aim of transnational feminism is forging alliances among subjects differently located through the development of a new discourse able to account for multiple conditions and claims, transnational feminism cannot set aside a critique of Western epistemology as a necessary premise. It is sadly ironic that the contemporary discourse that talks the most about heterogeneity […] still directs its critical voice primarily to a specialized audience that shares a common language rooted in the very master narratives it claims to challenge.
In order to do that, the academic discourse of transnational feminism has to pay attention to, and enter in contact with, different languages and social realities. In other words, transnational feminism has to take into consideration the knowledge productions of those women who have more often been objects of study of Western feminists Mohanty, and In fact, confronting different standpoints within the same social context could be a useful exercise to truly start addressing the issue of differences among women on axes of differentiations less evident than the one of national belonging.
In light of these considerations it becomes clear that the first step to forge alliances across national borders passes through a multiplication of questions related to how to forge alliances across racial, ethnical, cultural, sexual, economical, religious borders as well as across different citizenship status and working conditions.
Like people and schools of criticism, ideas and theories travel — from person to person, from situation to situation, from one period to another. Such movements into a new environment are never unimpeded. It necessarily involves processes of representation and institutionalization different from those at the point of origin. This complicates an account of the transplantation, transference, circulation, and commerce of theories and ideas. Then he goes on providing two examples of transgressive theory. What is important to underline here is that, although the differences between these two authors and between these two works in terms of time, contents and intents are evident, Said considers possible to address both Fanon and Adorno as belonging to a same community.
He writes:. One would not, could not, want to assimilate Viennese twelve-tone music to the Algerian resistance to French colonialism: the disparities are too grotesque even to articulate. To speak here only of borrowing and adaptation is not adequate. There is in particular an intellectual, and perhaps moral, community of a remarkable kind, affiliation in the deepest and most interesting sense of the word.
Said, a: What links them is that when facing the same concept, they both felt impelled to answer it through their interpretation; they both recognized and felt compelled to interpret the same signs which triggered their imagination. Such a community is grounded on the epistemological autonomy of each of its members and promotes a conversational model of interactions.
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Moreover such a model is based on the awareness of the impossibility of any theory to account for everything in existence. Thus theory appears as a tool that needs always to be tested and whose dependence on the social context and experience of the subjects needs to be constantly acknowledged.
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On the contrary, this has become a founding feature of contemporary society as it is easily confirmable in the existence of diverse forms of affiliation, such as those evoked by late capitalist global marketing or those resulting from the free circulation of ideas through the global media networks.
The latter, in particular, have radically reconfigured the relationships between elite and popular culture and have created the possibility of a heavy investment in mass mediated forms of political affiliation Woodhull, Reflecting on the reconfiguration of the relationships between elite and popular culture and the consequent proliferations of different standpoints he writes:.
Said, b: In fact, If from one side transnationalization of culture brings with it numerous possibilities for forging alliances and forms of resistance, from the other side, these same conditions also induce the proliferation of old power relationships under the guise of new. In other words, with an idea of time in which new and old discursive formations not only coexist, but also conflate.
As Rosi Braidotti states:. Feminists need to become fluent in a variety of styles and disciplinary angles and in many different dialects, jargons, languages, thereby relinquishing the image of sisterhood in the sense of a global similarity of all women qua second sex in favor of the recognition and complexity of the semiotic and material conditions in which women operate. The urge for a politics of reception originates from the awareness of the strictly interconnected material conditions of women in diverse parts of the world and from the recognition of the imbalance in the circulation of their standpoints.
Under feminist scrutiny, the subject and the object of knowledge have disclosed their gendered nature, putting under discussion the existence of a universal truth. The idea that, by collectively achieving an oppositional standpoint through political self-consciousness, feminists can generate more objective or less false and distorted accounts of the social world has reinforced the political project of a transnational alliance among women. In this sense, the political project behind transnational feminism can be regarded as a recovery of the main outcomes of the feminist epistemological debate.
In fact, the accomplishment of such a project seems to depend mostly on the ability of communities of interpreters to rethink politics in postmodern time, through an analysis of inherited categories of thought and through the production of new concepts and discourses able to account for multiple conditions and claims.
In other words, retaining the emancipatory project behind modernism, both feminist epistemology and transnational feminism are busy with the difficult task of accomplishing it through an acknowledgment of differences and inequalities among subject positions. This implies for transnational feminists being also able to acknowledge conflict, investigate their own privileged position and drop the search for a paralyzing totality. Coherently, as members of a community of interpreters, transnational feminists should not be seduced by fast consensus-creating signifiers but rather they should consider the epistemic and the ontology behind the terms adopted.
This will allow transnational feminists to sharpen their critical tools, since it will avoid the risk of subsuming concepts derived by other historical circumstances empting them of specificity as well as the risk of assuming meta-feminist positions which inevitably reproduce power relations and colonial legacies. Alexander, M. Durham: Duke University Press. Cambridge: Polity Press.
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Cavarero, Adriana; Restaino, Franco , Le filosofie femministe. Milan: Bruno Mondadori. Milan: Associazione Italiana Editori, Making Feminist Sense of International Politic s. London: Pandora Press. Grewal, Inderpal; Kaplan, Caren eds. Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Haraway, Donna , Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. London: Free Association Books.
Harding, Sandra , Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Harding, Sandra; Narayan, Uma eds. Philosophy for a Multicultural, Postcolonial, and Feminist World.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment. London: Routledge.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, Decentering the Center. Philosophy for a Multicultural, Postcolonial and Feminist World. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, Kaplan, Caren , Questions of Travel. Postmodern Discourses of Displacement. Lonzi, Carla , Sputiamo su Hegel. This art and social movement made the US government after a long period of ignoring and dismissing the problem finally pay attention to AIDS and its spread, invest considerably into scientific research of the disease and its cures, in the social and medical support of HIV positive people, and in the epidemic prevention measures Figures 3 and 4.
Figure 3. Figure 4. Critical public art as the public sphere. The editor of the volume W. Mitchell , p. Together with other contributors to the volume Mitchell , p.
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Triggering the critical inquiry of the public, raising the questions that are in the public interest, calling for attention and stimulating the public debate are the effects and consequences of this kind of art. This is the art that enhances the public sphere and works for democracy contribution. Non-mimetic theory of political art Quite the opposite to the three concepts outlined above in its understanding of political art and of political efficacy of art is the non-mimetic theory.
Ideas arguing the direct connection between art and politics are not new. For Schiller, aesthetic experience opens the possibility to envision a new form of universality and a new kind of emancipated humanity. Hinderliter et al, , p. Feminist art theory The theory of feminist art somehow combines both - the traditional understanding of political art with its direct intention-consequence logic and the non-mimetic understanding of political art that sees the relationship between art and politics as more complex than just direct cause-effect logic.
For Phelan feminist art is both an aesthetic and political movement at once, she , p. In agreement with Phelan, Butler comes up with thinking on feminism that brings together three pieces: feminism, art, and politics. According to Butler , p. Butler , p.