Wednesday, 5 May 2010, 6.15pm

Campus Westend, Hörsaalzentrum HZ 3

Professor Nikita Dhawan (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main)

Gendering Justice in a Postcolonial World


Nikita DhawanNikita Dhawan is a junior professor for gender and postcolonial studies within the Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders” and Director of the Frankfurt Research Center for Postcolonial Stu-dies (FRCPS). Her research interest is in political philosophy, transnational gender studies and postco-lonial theory at the Cluster of Excellence of the University of Frankfurt. Born in India, she studied philoso-phy and German language and literature at the University of Mumbai as well as gender studies at the Research Centre for Women's Studies (RCWS) at SNDT Women's University Mumbai/India. Professor Dhawan received her doctorate in 2006 from Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Her books are „Impossible Speech. On the Politics of Silence and Violence” (Academia, 2007) und “Postkoloniale Theorie: Eine kri-tische Einführung“ (Transcript, 2005 mit María do Mar Castro Varela). The most recent article is „Zwischen Empire und Empower: Dekolonisierung und Demokratisierung“ (Femina Politica - die Zeitschrift für feministische Politikwissenschaft 2/2009).


One of the most important insights offered by postcolonial theory is that ‘the Western’ intellectual tradition is simultaneously indispensible and inadequate in understanding the realities of a postcolonial world. On the one hand, most theories of justice not only reproduce a Eurocentric but also an androcentric bias. On the other hand, when gender injustice is addressed, it is reduced to justice between the sexes, which overlooks other intersecting categories like race, class, caste, religion from a transnational perspective. The aim of this talk is to approach the question of gender justice with regard to the postcolonial world by exploring how postcolonial contexts offer important lessons for theory building on global justice as they challenge universal blueprints for implementing of norms. Drawing on discourses and experiences from the global south and third world feminism, while circumventing the dualism of universalism and cultural relativism, the attempt will be to address the following issues: How do notions of justice travel among the asymmetrical spaces of postcoloniality? How is injustice experienced in different contexts? Which gender norms are produced by theories of global justice? How are theories of (gender) justice transformed when perspectives from the global south are taken seriously?


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