Joan Wallach Scott
Translation of Joan Wallach Scott’s keynote address to the 12th Berkshire Conference on the History of Women on »Local Knowledge <–> Global Knowledge«, delivered June 7, 2002, in Storrs, Connecticut. The original is forthcoming in differences 13:3 (February 2003).
Delivering her keynote in a time of crisis in the wake of September 11th, Scott draws on feminist analytics of power in order to provide critical interpretation of recent political developments. Feminist scholarship on the history of women and gender, beyond analyzing relationships between women and men, has yielded insights into the operations of difference and power applicable to the analysis of politics in general. Feminist analytics of power highlight the interrelation between collective identities and the other; between the universal and the particular; and between processes of inclusion and exclusion. Applying these tenets of feminist methodology to current politics, Scott, in a chapter on »ficitious unities«, offers a critique of the binary oppositions and contrasting categories that characterize representations of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the »War on Terrorism« waged in Afghanistan and around the world. Seemingly coherent identities, she shows, become questionable when probed for the differences they deny. In a chapter on the »reverberations« of feminism, Scott examines the global circulation of feminist strategies and the complex patterns of influence created by their adaptation to different local contexts.