Skip to the content

The activism of Black feminist theory in confronting violence against women : Interconnections, politics and practice

Nayak, S 2013, 'The activism of Black feminist theory in confronting violence against women : Interconnections, politics and practice' , in: Teaching Against Violence Reassessing the Toolbox : Teaching with Gender European Women’s Studies in International and Interdisciplinary Classrooms , The European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation, Utrecht & Central European University Press, pp. 31-60.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (458kB) | Request a copy
Official URL: http://atgender.eu/

Abstract

This chapter uses Audre Lorde’s essay “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power” as an analytic framework to explore an account of gender violation experienced by Patricia Hill Collins. The intention is to demonstrate that the activism of Black feminist theory in general, and the activism of Lorde’s scholarship in particular are effective tools for confronting and teaching about ‘femicide.’ Drawing on bell hooks’ idea of ‘Teaching to Trangress’ this paper uses the activism of Black feminist “[t]heory as liberatory practice.” In the context of this paper reference is made to gender violence but the focus is on violence against Black women with specific reference to the function and production of the objectification of Black women. The use of the activism of Black feminist theory to examine the complex intersection of multiple complex vectors of oppression in the sexual denigration of Black women is quite deliberate. The point I am making here is that any hope of meaningful alliances across difference to combat gender violence will fail if Black feminist interventions, wisdom and experience continues to be marginalised. Furthermore, it will fail if any element in that alliance replicates the unequal power relations at work in gender violence through hegemonic thinking and positioning in that alliance thereby replicating the very problem it seeks to address. This paper uses the term ‘the activism of Black feminist theory’ to insist on the mutually constitutive relationship between theory and activism that emphasises the “…links between Black feminism as a social justice project and Black feminist thought as its intellectual centre.” It is a direct challenge to the binaries of activism or theory, and experience or scholarship, that questions what counts as theory and who counts as theorist. Indeed examination of the constituent elements of the activism of Black feminist theory demonstrates that it emerges out of the dialectical and the dialogical. The dialectical because it is formed out of the suppression of Black women’s voice, thinking and scholarship in order to articulate that suppression with the objective of confronting that suppression. The dialogical because of the interconnections with the activism of social justice. The dialogical relationship between experience, practice and scholarship produces the methodology of the activism of Black feminist theory, where the how to do, and the doing of, the project, intersect. Carole Boyce Davies asserts that, “Black feminist criticisms, then, perhaps more than many of the other feminisms, can be a praxis where the theoretical positions and the criticism interact with the lived experience.” The work of Audre Lorde continues to be instrumental in this process, and is evidence of the translation and relevance of her work to current feminist practice and experience.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Testoni, I, Wieser, M, Groterath, A and Guglielmin, MS
Schools: Schools > School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Sciences
Publisher: The European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation, Utrecht & Central European University Press
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Dr Suryia Nayak
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2015 18:05
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2016 19:28
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/34772

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year