Global feminisms is a burgeoning field of scholarship struggling to catch up with a century of feminist and women’s interests and activism. Global feminisms is an important area of inquiry in feminist research in all disciplines where feminism has a presence. Why feminismS? Global feminisms is the study of feminisms from around the world and the world around each of us, of local feminisms, of feminisms transnationally, and of global politics through feminist lenses. Some feminisms defy geography; some are hyperconscious of geopolitics. The field is dynamic and, at its best, transdisciplinary. But it is a field with its own history of power. By referring to “feminisms”, we mean to be committed to noting the potential for power to obfuscate diversity and to silence difference. Global feminists not only study the power of power, we also use our critical tools to reflect on the ways in which we practice that which we study in our scholarship. Global feminisms is at once a field of study and a process of study, a research question, a research ethic, and a research methodology.
Global feminisms is an ethical perspective. Global feminisms perceives of ethics as a collective project, attentive to the possibilities for alliance building. It expects self-reflection at all stages of the research project from epistemology to publication. Methodologically, it expects an inclusive understanding of the research subject and expects to be educated and to educate about intersectional experiences of oppression. It is attentive to power and to diasporic and marginalized people. In short, global feminist research practices are ethical practices and they are themselves practices that require ethical reflection.
Global feminisms scholars are engaged in the study of boundaries associated with sex, gender, sexuality, class, race, ability, ethnicity, geography, identity, and membership – using both theoretical and empirical lenses. They are attentive to silence and marginalization, to citizenship politics (including migration, refugees, rights, and participation), to political economy (formal and informal), to society and culture, and to the environment (understood as the places where we live, work, play, and pray). Global feminist scholarship is making important contributions to many fields of study and to many ways of living.
The Global Feminisms Collaborative at Vanderbilt engages in these scholarly and ethical reflections individually and collaboratively. Because Global Feminisms’ subjects of inquiry have long been marginalized questions within their home disciplines, enhancing Global Feminist scholarship takes place through increased visibility of this scholarship and its authors within their own institutions and globally. Hence, the Global Feminisms Collaborative is committed to working transinstitutionally, with global partners, national partners, Nashville partners and Vanderbilt partners in order to develop the field of Global Feminisms in research and teaching. In addition, we are committed to reflecting on our work and the way we work as a practice of the ethical commitments of global feminism.
The core of the project is a research group supported by the Center for Ethics. Members of the group with an existing expertise in global feminism or with a research or teaching strength in an area important to the purpose of the project have been developing the Global Feminisms Collaborative.
Participants include graduate students and faculty. Brooke Ackerly (A&S, Political Science), Rosanne Adderley (A&S, African American and Diaspora Studies), Katy Attanasi (Religion, Ethics), Brandi Brimmer (A&S, History), Anastasia Curwood (A&S, African American and Diaspora Studies), Lyndi Hewitt (A&S, Sociology), Susan Saegert (Peabody, Human and Organizational Development), Sonalini Sapra (A&S, Political Science), Shubhra Sharma (A&S, Women’s and Gender Studies), C. Melissa Snarr (Divinity, Ethics), and Sarah VanHooser (Peabody, Community Research and Action). In addition Rebecca Maddox (A&S '10) is our undergraduate intern.