Info-war and the politics of feminist curiosity: exploring new frameworks for feminist intercultural studies.
Cultural Studies, 20(6) pp. 526–551.
The attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in September 2001 and the subsequent declaration of the “war on terror” by U.S. and European powers, placed a particular burden upon feminists in those countries to call attention to the centrality of gender discourse in the current geo-political era. This essay recognises the urgency of exploring the “war on global terror” from a feminist perspective, and applying pedagogical expertise to encourage wide-ranging, informed debate within the academic classroom. Identifying the feminist questions at the heart of contemporary discourse on freedom and civilization can become a valuable way to develop a critique of imperialism from many different locations. Two themes are pursued: the language of difference, and the implications of speaking about women and gender in different situations; and the challenges of postmodern warfare, which demand a close critique of information sources. The international enterprise to reconstruct Afghanistan civil society offers urgent opportunities to test the feasibility of transnational feminist work, in theory and practice. Finally, the essay considers the importance of bringing different kinds of contemporary texts into the classroom. The best-selling Bookseller of Kabul is examined as a useful subject of critique. Bringing a feminist perspective on whiteness can also be helpful in analysing representations of orientalist, racist texts. Finally, feminist analyses of militarism provide a valuable way to connect patterns of power “at home” with the way that war is represented to the public.
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