International Handbooks on Gender series
Edited by Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe
Chapter 6: Reworking postcolonial feminisms in the sites of IR
Azouz Begag was born of Algerian parents in France. In his postcolonial memory politics, memory is a life approach that reveals the complicated power dynamics of imperial and phantom roots (and routes) between two continents simultaneously. In this example, to remember is to move toward a radical uncertainty that exposes how France and Algeria are sutured in violence together through colonialism. Memory, however, creates a space to engage with life in Algeria in ways that exceed colonial regulation. Thus, memory is a postcolonial analytic that embraces a multiplicity of life within the context of colonial violence; it reads through the cracks of colonial history to engage with the politics of resistance, recovery and life. In other words, postcolonial theory is the writing of the materiality of memory that fuels just futures. Additionally, Chowdhry and Nair’s epigraph reveals how global power is fully understood only when we attend to the ways race, class and gender relations are simultaneously drawn upon to re-constitute colonial frameworks. A feminist grounding of postcolonial theory reads through the fingerprints of colonial history and subverts its boundaries by attending to the multiple and intersecting axes of power. Postcolonial feminisms work to expose narratives of “civilization,” “domestication” and “growth” as forms of oppression; they reveal how colonial frameworks seek to exterminate and assimilate anybody who does not fit into the dominant discourses of the interstate system.
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