Carolyn J Eichner, In-Person at Boswell Book Company, Friday, August 26, 2022, 6:30 pm. Click here to register.— Boswell Book Company
Feminism's Empire investigates the complex relationships between imperialisms and feminisms in the late nineteenth century and demonstrates the challenge of conceptualizing pro-imperialist and anti-imperialist as binary positions. By intellectually and spatially tracing the era's first French feminists' engagement with empire, Carolyn J. Eichner explores how feminists opposed--yet employed--approaches to empire in writing, speaking, and publishing. In differing ways, they ultimately tied forms of imperialism to gender liberation.
Among the era's first anti-imperialists, French feminists were enmeshed in the hierarchies and epistemologies of empire. They likened their gender-based marginalization to imperialist oppressions. Imperialism and colonialism's gendered and sexualized racial hierarchies established categories of inclusion and exclusion that rested in both universalism and ideas of nature that presented colonized people with theoretical, yet impossible, paths to integration. Feminists faced similar barriers to full incorporation due to the gendered contradictions inherent in universalism. The system presumed citizenship to be male and thus positioned women as outsiders. Feminism's Empire connects this critical struggle to hierarchical power shifts in racial and national status that created uneasy linkages between French feminists and imperial authorities.
About the Author
Carolyn J. Eichner teaches History and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is the author of Surmounting the Barricades and The Paris Commune. Follow her on Twitter @EichnerCarolyn.