Sujatha Fernandes is a Professor of Political Economy and Sociology at the University of Sydney. She taught for over a decade at the City University of New York, and prior to that she was a Wilson-Cotsen Fellow at the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at Princeton University. Her research combines social theory and political economy with in-depth, engaged ethnography of global social movements. She is the author of three books: Cuba Represent! Cuban Arts, State Power, and the Making of New Revolutionary Cultures (Duke, 2006), Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela (Duke, 2010), and Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation (Verso, 2011). Her latest book entitled, Curated Stories: How Storytelling is Hindering Social Change, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in 2017.
“Stories and Statecraft: Afghan Women’s Narratives and the Return of Colonial Feminism”
This talk will examine the new forms of colonial feminism that are being deployed in a contemporary geopolitical context of war and military intervention. It looks at a US-run literary project in Afghanistan as an example of this colonial feminism. The presentation of Afghan women’s narratives, with their horrific and painful recounting of abuse upon abuse, with little context to understand why this might be happening, encourages responses of rescue by outsiders rather than a critical engagement with U.S. military and imperial power. I also explore forms of dialogue and storytelling that are decolonising and anti-imperialist, providing the grounds for a more critical feminist internationalism.