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Abstract

How has a movement built on the consciousness of sisterhood become so fragmented between the end of the 20th and into the second decade of the 21st century? As different political tendencies, widely varying economic conditions and cultural dissimilarities emerged in global struggles to achieve diverse visions of women’s and gender equality, the current feminist movement appears to be characterized by chasms between the east, west, north and south rather than viewed as a movement whose basic tenets are parallel across racial, geographic and social barriers. By looking at lived examples of confrontations, and through a deliberate process of self-reflexive questioning, this paper looks at what elements might sustain the global nature of the feminist movement into the future. Through a re-examination of key authors who have identified differences wrought by geography and culture, among them Chandra Mohanty’s “Under Western Eyes”, and in conversation with two feminist scholars from North America and India, the author interrogates the concept of difference and argues that confronting and accepting difference might teach us more about our “sameness under the skin” and about the continued building of consciousness across borders.

Note on the Author

Patricia Mohammed is Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies and Director, School for Graduate Studies and Research at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. She has assisted in the development of gender studies at the tertiary level in the Anglophone Caribbean serving as Head of Department of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies in Jamaica and in Trinidad at various times. She has held visiting fellowships as Professor at State University of New York at Albany and Rutgers, New Jersey. She is a pioneer in second wave feminism, founding member in 1978 of the first second wave feminist organization in Trinidad Concerned Women for Progress and served as Coordinator of the First Rape Crisis Centre in the Anglophone Caribbean from 1985-1987. She has been involved in feminist activism and scholarship for over three decades and increasingly over the last decade in the field of Cultural Studies. She is architect of four national gender policies in the Caribbean. Her academic publications include Gender in Caribbean Development (Ed), 1988, Rethinking Caribbean Difference, Special Issue Feminist Review, Routledge Journals, 1998, Gender Negotiations among Indians in Trinidad, 1917-1947, Palgrave UK and The Hague, 2001, and Gendered Realities: Essays in Caribbean Feminist Thought, (ed.) University of the West Indies Press, Kingston, 2002, and Imaging the Caribbean: Culture and Visual Translation, Macmillan UK, 2009. Her most recent publication is Travels with a Husband, jointly written with Rex Dixon, artist and published by Hansib Publishers, United Kingdom (2016).

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