Ara Wilson


Despite clear affinities, the integration of feminism into the World Social Forum remains uneven, in ways reminiscent of well-known histories of women’s movements with various lefts. This essay draws on observations of the 2005 WSF at Porto Alegre, Brazil and the 2006 African Social Forum in Bamako, Mali, as well as secondary literature, to explore the articulation of transnational feminism and the World Social Forum. Using concrete practices, texts, and spaces, I discuss different dimensions of the interaction of feminism with the WSF, including political norms, political geography, and historical trajectories. The relation between feminism and the WSF hinges not only on how “feminist” the WSF is but also on what feminists are doing and trying to do at the Forum.

Author Biography

Ara Wilson’s scholarship investigates sexuality, gender, and feminism in relation to globalization. She is the author of The Intimate Economies of Bangkok: Tomboys, Tycoons and Avon Ladies in the Global City (2004) as well as articles about sexual rights. She is currently working on a book, Sexual Latitudes: The Erotic Politics of Globalization. She has been based in Women’s Studies at the Ohio State University and is presently Director of Sexuality Studies at Duke University.