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A feminist’s rhetoric of nationalism

by Archives October 8, 2003

Canadian scholar Himani Bannerji, an associate professor of Sociology at York University was invited by the women’s studies department to give a lecture on “The Rhetoric of freedom: Women and Nationalism in the Works of Rabindranath Tagore”, to a packed house last week at Concordia.

In her opening address, Bannerji introduced her lecture as: “feminism in the third world, feminism as social movement, as well as many of its ideas are themselves based on rhetoric of freedom, on libratory discourses that were spun off by nationalism.” She spoke of the rhetoric of freedom used by Indian middle-class women over the last century to forge a nationalistic voice in India.

Bannerji’s research includes women and development, colonial and post-colonial social and political formations, feminist theory and its relations to race and class, immigrant women in Canada, and culture and politics. Her research cuts across fields as broad as Marxist sociology, cultural studies, third world sociology and women’s studies.

“Third world feminist thought and practices often originated in the times and milieus of anti-colonial nationalism,” she said.

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