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Contemporary African Feminism: At the Intersection of Neocolonialism and Postcoloniality

African Feminism
When Apr 12, 2012
from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Where The Nittany Lion Inn
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When: Apr 12, 2012 from 06:00 PM to 08:30 PM
Where: Memorial Lounge, Pasquerilla Spiritual Center

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African Feminist Scholar/Activist

Patricia McFadden is an African Feminist scholar/activist who lives and works on the African continent and in the global academy.  She currently resides in Zimbabwe and Swaziland (Southern Africa), and has recently completed a three year (one semester) teaching contract with Syracuse University (2008–2010) as a Distinguished Visiting Professor in African American Studies and the Women's and Gender Studies Departments.

Her work ranges across a variety of critical feminist issues—sexuality, citizenship and postcoloniality, nationalism and revolutionary struggles, and writing as resistance on the African continent.

She has published in various journals and anthologies, edited a feminist journal (SAFERE) and several texts, and worked as a consultant with the UN, Ford Foundation, The Mellon foundation and numerous women's organizations in Africa and internationally.

Professor McFadden was the Endowed Cosby Chair in the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College, Atlanta Georgia from 2005–2007.

Her latest publications are: "Exceptionalim is a Feminist Issue in Southern Africa" in African Women: A Political Economy, M. Turshen (ed.), Palgrave MacMillan, 2010; "Re-Crafting Citizenship in the Postcolonial Moment: a Focus on Southern Africa" in Works and Days,57/58 Spring/Fall 2011 29, Nos. 1 & 2; "Interrogating Americana: an African Feminist Critique" in Feminism and War: Confronting U.S. Imperialism, R.Riley et. al. (eds.), ZED Books, 2008; "Plunder as Statecraft: Militarism and Resistance in Neocolonial Africa" inSecurity Disarmed: Critical Perspectives on Gender, Race and Militarisation, Barbara Sutton et. al. (eds.) Rutgers University Press, 2008.

“Contemporary African Feminism: At the Intersection of Neocolonialism and Postcoloniality”

Contemporary African Feminism is emerging from struggles within the African women’s movement (in its diverse forms) and out of the crisis of Nationalism in the context of Neocolonial plunder and ruling class consolidation/entrenchment, as well as in response to the impacts of neo-liberalism and the crisis of global capitalism on working women and their communities across the African continent.  More specifically, the conceptual and activist challenges that have been posed by the moment of transition to postcoloniality (as an expression of radical political consciousness on the one hand, and a re-entrenchment of capitalist hegemony on the other) necessitate a revisiting of the politics of African women’s movements in order to better understand the limitations of Nationalism as an ideology that profoundly influenced the African women’s politics for the past half century.

This “Janus-like stance” will, I think, enable feminists to better understand how neocolonialism (as a political and economic moment) represents a unique class opportunity for the emergence of black ruling elites in all the societies of the continent.  The importance of scrutinizing the ideological, structural and relational features of the neocolonial state and how it serves the interests of both black and white exploiting classes–thus eclipsing particular racial discourses while serving to further entrench others—is critical to the re-positioning of African women’s politics as a “radical politics,” a politics which helps explain how exclusion operates against the majority of people in our societies, particularly against women in relation to entitlements that span a wide spectrum of issues, and which provides a vehicle of resistance—through the generation of new discourses, new critiques, and new solidarities—to enable women to engage with the emerging postcolonial states.  My foundational argument is that Africa is in a moment of transition—from neocolonialism to postcolonialism, and the crafting and application of a radical postcolonial consciousness will be essential in how we engage the State and Global Capital, and whether we are able to exert a definitive influence on what kinds of societies emerge in the near future.  This transitional moment is crucial for us as individual women as well as for our communities which have been ravaged by the unmitigated rampancy of economic, military and other forms of exploitation and repression.