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Abstract

The concept of feminist “sisterhood” holds an uneasy historical and contemporary relationship with difference; indeed, new ways of knowing and doing research across, within, through and between the boundaries of race, class and religion are needed disrupt the sedentary monologism of “white-supremacist-capitalist-imperialist-patriarchy” (after hooks, 1994). Collaborative autoethnography presents itself as one such possibility for doing the work of difference “differently”, and in this paper, we share the sameness and differences of our “southern-ness” as feminist academics to explore this potential. As two female academics from Indonesia and Australia, we draw upon the postcolonial feminist work of Mohanty and the poststructural, feminist scholarship of Holman-Jones, Connell and Braidotti to challenge and re-imagine notions of global and Southern sisterhood as Indonesian and Australian Gender Studies academics. Under feminist research methodology, we use collaborative autoethnography to share our “same” personal-as-political experiences as mothers and academics in Gender Studies. It is together with our “different” experiences as student-advisor, Western and non-Western women to explore the ways in which we are positioning ourselves in relation to and performing the possibilities of a Southern sisterhood. Our writings reveal that our student-advisor, Western and non-Western relationship is one replete with differences of power and privilege and yet as Gender Studies academics we are bound together by a commitment to global and distinctly “Southern” sisterhood where striving for empowerment as women is joyful. We claim that Southern sisterhood is possible. Collaborative autoethnography holds much promise in relation to an Australian – Indonesian sisterhood which travels across the boundaries of race, class, and religion. Such travels of difference entangle moments of comfort and discomfort and in this paper we share some of the ways in which our shared subjectivities as academics plays out as difference in a relationship committed to a gender just future for women in the Global South.

Note on the Author

Siti Muflichah is A Senior Lecturer at State Islamic University Antasari, Banjarmasin, Indonesia.

Elizabeth Mackinlay is an Associate Professor at University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

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