Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
English and Cultural Studies
In this dissertation I examine the contemporary breakdown of critical feminist dialogues so ubiquitous in the 1990s between Israeli and Palestinian women. Building on interviews with Palestinian women that identify a “top-down approach” in dialogues with Israeli anti-occupation feminist activists, this dissertation examines the role of “power inequities,” Orientalism, and “white feminist authority” (Lâm) in forming the discursive environment for even the most critical feminist dialogues. Conducting various discursive analyses of dialogues between Israeli and Palestinian women, I argue that the mainstream exclusivist Israeli feminist movement as well as “critical,” self-titled anti-racist and “anti-occupation” Israeli feminists continue to function with “white feminist authority.” Palestinian women are often pressured to speak through narrow points of entry that prioritize the paradigms of Western feminism and academic theory, namely, anti-nationalism and unitary womanhood/motherhood. These assumptions constitute a feminist paternalism that is similar to Israeli hegemonic discourses that rationalize “exceptional” but necessary violence against the Palestinians. Palestinian women have initiated a comprehensive boycott of status quo dialogues in an effort to create more dialogue. In this way the “silences” of status quo “humaniz[ing]” feminist dialogues (Lorde) which operate through requests for “colonial mimicry” are troubled by the boycott and may ultimately produce future anti-racist and anti-colonial feminist dialogues. The shortcomings of contemporary Western feminism’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” are brought to light in this dissertation while potentials for solidarity-activism across “power inequities” are simultaneously mapped out.
Hasan, Wafaa Ph.D., "Orientalist Feminism and the Politics of Critical Dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian Women" (2012). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6847.
McMaster University Library