We began this project intending to theorise the respectability politics within the Irish Repeal (pro-choice) movement through the lenses of postcolonial and Black feminism, and through the experiences of members of Pinjra Tod, a movement seeking the right to mobility for Indian women students. Instead, we found ourselves excavating the inextricable links between respectability politics and the representational politics of academic knowledge production (Cruz in Collins-White et al 2015) in relation to Irish Women’s Studies and the racialised politics of representation in the Repeal campaign. Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman living in Ireland with her husband on a work visa, died tragically in 2012 from septicaemia. This was due to being denied the proper procedures following a miscarriage as a result of an Irish Constitutional Amendment in 1983 deeming abortion illegal in any circumstance. Her death galvanised a turning point in the Irish women’s movement, which led to a national campaign that successfully repealed that Amendment. In fact, she literally became ‘the face’ of the movement -- one that remained racially and intersectionally ‘tone-deaf’ at best, wilfully exclusionary at worst. Our attention thus hovered on this problematique and necessitated a collaborative, dialogic ‘working through’ of these entanglements. This article presents the substance and outcome of a method of ‘pluriversal convocation’ that arose from this process. This method coaxed insights into the ongoing Eurocentricism and respectability politics within white western feminism that undermine praxis by promoting ‘diversification without doing the work of diversity’. And it illuminated the transformative opportunities created by Black feminist and Indian postcolonial practices of ‘wilful connectedness’, which has, in turn, generated a basis on which we are cultivating a decolonising feminist praxis.
Chakravarty, Dyuti; Feldman, Alice; and Penney, Emma
Analysing Contemporary Women’s Movements for Bodily Autonomy, Pluriversalizing the Feminist Scholarship on the Politics of Respectability.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 21(7), 170-188.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol21/iss7/13