ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Feminism at the Margins of Anthropology

Feminism at the Margins of Anthropology Kantala Ganesh THE responses to Dipankar Gupta's 'Feminicationof Theory'(EfW, March 25) have comprehensively highlighted the extreme selectivity of his citations of feminist studies to make sweeping generalisations, In particular he has ignored the thrust of women's studies in India which has not only been alert throughout to the need for Unking activism and academic work, but also been wary of any extreme descent into pre- ciousness or esotcrism. I would here focus only on his treatment of anthropology and postmodern anthropology (or the new ethnography', as it has often been referred to) and his silence on contemporary feminist anthropology. Gupta argues that more than any other social science discipline, anthropology by its very nature is particularly hospitable to postmodern tendencies and that "it is not at all surprising that feminists should borrow freely from this discipline, either from within or without". One naturally presumes that he will follow this up with examples from and analysis of feminist anthropology/anthropology of gender/ anthropology of women (I am using the terms interchangeably) and with specific examples of feminist (non-anthropological) studies that have borrowed freely from anthropology. One waits in vain. Except for a passing reference to Mascia-Lees et al (1989) who in fact have developed in great detail an argument on why feminist anthropology is incompatible with postmodernism, there is no substantiation of what is surely a major peg in his argument.

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