Vasuki Nesiah


This paper advances the argument that third world feminism calls for a re-orienting of our critical energies from merely taking sides in a debate, to questioning the material and ideological lens that interpolates the debate, i.e., the habitus from which we make our stand. Constituted by the tension between “finding the ground on which we make our stand” and the struggle with whether “we are mostly given that territory,” third world feminisms pursue political agendas interpolated by the cracks and fissures of post-colonial nationhood and internationalized feminisms. The ground of struggle is varied – working conditions and economic self-determination, family and ideology, ethnic conflict and pluralism, sexuality and subversion, disciplinarity and the production of academic knowledge, religion and secularism, human rights and supra-liberalism. This paper pursues a somewhat non-systematic encounter with these different yet intersecting thematics in relation to discrepant third world feminist debates on the plurality of discourses and practices regarding veiling and unveiling.

Author Biography

Vasuki Nesiah is a Senior Associate with the International Center for Transitional Justice.