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EN270: Transnational Feminism, 2011/12
Sorcha Gunne
[email protected]
Office: H540
Office Hour: Tuesday, 11am
Woman and Nation
“Women figure as ‘the
raw material for
symbolisation - biology,
reproduction, the body,
morality, cycles of
growth and decay’,
rather than as equal
participants in human
culture” (Margaret Ward
qtd in Emer Nolan).
The nation is symbolically formulated as the
Mother figure that the male subjects must
protect from the invading colonisers:
“it is the ground for asserting national selfhood
and identity against the colonial presence”
(Irene Gedalof)
The Tea-Party recently deployed the trope...
“Controlling women’s sexuality, exalting
maternity and breeding a virile race of
empire-builders were widely perceived as
the paramount means for controlling the
health and wealth of the male imperial
body politic, so that… sexual purity
emerged as the controlling metaphor for
racial, economic and political power”
(Anne McClintock)
“Women in these conditions become guarantors of
their men’s status, bearers of national honour and
the scapegoats of national identity... [They] are not
merely transformed into symbols of the nation.
They become the territory over which power is
exercised” (Gerardine Meany qtd in Ailbhe Smyth)
CarenKaplan, Norma Alarcón and Minoo Moallem (Eds) Between Woman
and Nation: Nationalisms, Transnational Feminism, and the State
‘[A]t the core of the modern
nation-state, a contradiction is
set in motion insofar as there
is a denial of sexual or racial
difference or both, and
simultaneous universalization
of difference’ (2)
‘Women are both of and not of the
nation. Between woman and
nation is, perhaps, the space or
zone where we can deconstruct
these monoliths and render them
more historically nuanced and
accountable to politics’ (12).
‘[W]e question the continuous repetition of
gender and sexuality and their symbolic power
both in the historicity and temporality of the
nation, as well as in the repetition of the raced
ethnicities as powerful signifiers whose
counternarratives and counterperformances
disrupt the nation’s tendency to totalize its
pedagogy for the people’ (9-10).
‘Nation and woman include a
political economy that is
related to the production,
distribution, consumption,
and circulation of discourse
and practices dividing time
and space between bodies
who are the occupants of
metaphoric and national
homelands’ (14).
Suad Joseph – ‘Women Between Nation and State in Lebanon’
You are producing and directing a film based on Djebar’s
Fantasia. In the assigned groups, storyboard a scene from
the film which you will then use to ‘pitch’ the film to the
studio exec.