Feminism Otherwise. Intersectionality beyond Occidentalism
AbstractBased on the paradigm of Eurocentric hegemony and the respective cartographies of knowledge, feminist theorizing is conventionally perceived as being situated in the academy and in the so-called »Global North.« Feminism seems to be »owned« by Western European and US-American academic (and mostly white) feminists, whereas other regions and epistemes serve as object of knowledge production. For example, the concept of »intersectionality« has by now become an academic concept in the humanities and the social sciences, even so the idea behind it originates from African American feminist and activist contexts. Also black feminists from »peripheral« spaces such as the Caribbean or Brazil had for a long time been claiming the need for examining the interdependent inequalities they experience as addressed in the concept, however mostly not under the same terminology.
Exemplifying the Occidentalism paradigm for addressing epistemic inequalities, this article elaborates on the persistent geopolitics of knowledge within and between different feminism(s) and between different feminisms in different regions of the world. Against the backdrop of the ways in which the feminist concept of »intersectionality« for addressing interdependent axes of stratification has travelled, the article seeks to discuss possible forms of solidarity and theorizing across and beyond borders. For analyzing epistemic asymmetries between feminisms, the article proposes the concept of Occidentalism, which, in a broader and more structural sense than Eurocentrism, implies a structural organization of highly unequal, asymmetrical and hierarchical knowledge production and circulation. Furthermore, a critical Occidentalist approach critical of hegemony and focusing on a relational understanding serves for imagining feminist practice and theorizing beyond Eurocentrism and Occidentalism.