Constructing (un)Situated Women in Nawal El Saadawi's Woman at Point Zero (1975) and Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things (1996): We Need New Feminist Spaces for Postcolonial Women

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Dr. Hapsatou Wane


In this paper, I will explore the ways in which postcolonial womanhood adapt to societies in the aftermath of colonialism. I argue that there is a need for new feminist identities other than “postcolonial women” in this context. Expanding on Haraway’s “situated knowledge,” I explain why postcolonial women in Woman at Point Zero (1975) and The God of Small Things (1997) construct their own identities as individuals in response to the societal, cultural, and historical backgrounds of their lives. I posit that these women are without location---a position marred by cultural/societal/historical precedence. As (un)Situated women, they are “out-of-place” within the context of their respective cultural/social/historical world and thus rely on their ability to create spaces of empowerment and agency to resist the hegemonies in place in their societies. I consider these postcolonial women (un)Situated as their experiences cannot reflect and be reflected in their social/cultural/historical spaces. Furthermore, as postcolonial women, (un)Situated women are at risk of what Mohanty describes as “discursive colonization” which makes them subjected to a form of triple colonization. As subjects of triple colonization, the voices of (un)Situated women can’t be heard since they exist in a blurred identity landscape in which current feminist concepts may not be applicable (or recognized) by them. Through this paper, I hope to illustrate how voices of (un)Situated contribute to the creation of new feminist spaces for postcolonial women.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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