Decolonizing Universalism

A Transnational Feminist Ethic

by

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780190664190
  • 9780190664213
  • 9780190664220
Decolonizing Universalism argues that feminism can respect cultural and religious differences and acknowledge the legacy of imperialism without surrendering its core ethical commitments. Transcending relativism/ universalism debates that reduce feminism to a Western notion, Serene J. Khader proposes a feminist vision that is sensitive to postcolonial and antiracist concerns. Khader criticizes the false universalism of what she calls 'Enlightenment liberalism,' a worldview according to which the West is the one true exemplar of gender justice and moral progress is best achieved through economic independence and the abandonment of tradition. She argues that anti-imperialist feminists must rediscover the normative core of feminism and rethink the role of moral ideals in transnational feminist praxis. What emerges is a nonideal universalism that rejects missionary feminisms that treat Western intervention and the spread of Enlightenment liberalism as the path to global gender injustice.The book draws on evidence from transnational women's movements and development practice in addition to arguments from political philosophy and postcolonial and decolonial theory, offering a rich moral vision for twenty-first century feminism.
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780190664190
  • 9780190664213
  • 9780190664220

In The Press

"This is the book that we have been waiting for. Serene Khader explains how to be an anti-imperialist feminist without retreating from judgment or attempting to stay 'local.' Careful and balanced but powerfully argued, this is an absolute must for everyone concerned about gender-based oppression around the world."--Linda Martín Alcoff, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
"This is an important and timely book. Khader argues that we can identify what is wrong in sexist oppression without thereby committing ourselves to a singular blueprint for what is right. In doing so, she offers a compelling way out of a current feminist impasse, one that has been particularly pressing for a transnational feminism seeking to avoid the universalising imposition of one cultural narrative. Her argument about the transition costs of challenging oppression is especially persuasive, as is her critique of 'independence individualism,' and the book combines rigorous philosophical argument with carefully contextualised examples."--Anne Phillips, London School of Economics and Political Science
"Khader's incisive analysis of the dark side of Western values long associated with feminismindividualism, secularism, and 'gender role eliminativism'provides an utterly compelling roadmap for decolonizing feminist thinking and practice. Reconceiving feminism as opposition to sexist oppression, Khader shows that a transnational feminist praxis with normative and political bite is possible, but must respectfully engage the diverse values, roles, and arrangements of women around the world. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand why the global feminist revolution didn't happen, but might yet."--Monique Deveaux, University of Guelph

About The Author

Serene J. Khader is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Women's and Gender Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and Jay Newman Chair in Philosophy of Culture at Brooklyn College. She is the also the author of Adaptive Preferences and Women's Empowerment and co-editor, with Ann Garry and Alison Stone, of The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy.

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780190664190
  • 9780190664213
  • 9780190664220