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Outline: Christine Sylvester - Riding the Hyphens

Outline: Christine Sylvester - Riding the Hyphens

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Published by: zimmerpflanze on Sep 16, 2008
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06/16/2009

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Riding the Hyphens of Feminism, Peace and Place in Four- (orMore) Part Cacophony
Christine Sylvester 
Outline by
Carsten Kaefert 
Sylvester brackets her speech in a discourse on female resp. feminist identity, starting an innerdialog leading to the conclusion that her protected North-American perspective cannot begeneralized (although it tends to be nevertheless) and closing with an expansion of this discourse bythe authors of the definitions she quotes. This again leads to the deconstruction of thoseperspectives, leaving her African self behind in the process.
Three lines of thinking about peace and feminism:(1) Women are more peaceable than men
Experience of being mothered and nurtured by a “similarly bodied, similarly role-assignedwoman” (Sylvester '95, p. 137) makes women rather preserve than destroy life
Contra:
 –
Repeats the innate and homogeneous otherness of women
 –
declares women as passive
 –
denies non-caretaking and non-mothering options for women
 –
fails to address non- or less-than-nurturing mothers
Assigns peace to women as something they can actually own(2) Women can be just warriors
Women maybe more peaceable, but under given circumstances they might have to pick uparms and fight
 –
e.g. peasant women in some parts of Africa
Based upon empiricist epistemology
Contra:
 –
Empirically, women's violent struggle has almost always been for the benefit of powerfulmen
 –
Women don't become decisive in the army
 –
In times of peace, women's warlike struggle is almost never remembered and their role isreduced to its pre-war state(3) War and peace as social constructs, in which both women and men engage
Eliminates the distinction between war and peace by stating one is defined by the other
Both offer opportunities to overcome the mutual otherness of men an women
Focuses on the genealogy of role assignments and traditions instead of just repeating them
Contra:
 –
Obviously (as demonstrated by ongoing conflicts) doesn't have the power to overcomewar or even address it's issues in a timely manner to resolve conflicts
 –
Lacks the persuasive power to appeal to the public
Sylvester argues (by quoting Dangarembga) not to reduce the topic to any of these storylines inorder to broaden the discourse
Definition of women as a group has consequences and may not lead to coherent results in analysis
Although Sylvester implicitly acknowledges differences between men and women, she argues thatthese are not substantial (see Sylvester '95, p. 140)

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