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Reclaiming feminist postcoloniality : negotiating nationalism, gender politics and violence in Sudan and the Nuba Mountains Elradi, Amel Abdelfadil Eldihaib


This dissertation is a study of how and why post-colonial nationalism in Sudan is implicated in violence, and how indigenous, national, and international feminist/women’s organizations in Sudan contest ongoing violence. Through a literature review, semi-structured interviews and synthesis of organizations’ documents, I engaged in a qualitative case study with three women’s organisations. I interviewed 22 research participants (18 women and 4 men). I disentangle the relationship between post-colonial nationalism and violence by illustrating how gendered racialized violence is viewed by some in Sudan as a condition characterizing the “post-colonial” nation-state. Although independence brought certain levels of freedom and emancipation, the patriarchal processes of state formation and post-colonial nationalism, aided by global capitalism resulted in gendered and racialized violence. I show how the conceptualization of the national and the international spheres replicate erasure of the experience of intersectional forms of violence, failing to account for the historical specificity of the material conditions of women from the Nuba Mountains. I demonstrate how the three organizations are situated differently at the intersection of the interests of the state’s national agenda and the North-South donors’ desire for “modernization” and “development”. The study reveals that in Africa, including Sudan, there is no such thing as an authentic African feminism. Instead, there are multiple forms of feminisms and women organizing. Also, the study argues that by not attending to the racialized history of the Sub-Saharan slave trade, the dominant “radical” Third World feminist postcolonial discourse, which fundamentally grounds its argument on important global forces such as imperialism and political economy, fails to speak to differences within Third World nations across race/ethnicity and gender. The study calls for the need for African postcolonial feminists to deconstruct the ‘post’ in the post-colonial and raise the fundamental question of post-colonial for whom? stressing the need to redefine Africa post-coloniality on gendered, race/ethnicity as well as class grounds. The study deconstructs the local-global locational dichotomies; both national and global forces are implicated in shaping local politics, recognizing that national as well transnational solidarity which is anti-racist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist remain promising strategies to address violence at a local level.

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