Global Feminisms Project, at the Universty of Michigan

Comparative Case Studies of Women’s Activism and Scholarship

The ‘Global Feminisms Project’ is a collaborative international project that examines the history of feminist activism, women’s movements and academic women’s studies in China, India, Poland, and the United States. We are examining the histories of feminism in local contexts by collecting ten videotaped oral histories of women’s movement activists and women’s studies scholars in each country. The Project is based in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG) at UM, which is also the home for the US site research team. (On Homepage).

Conferences and Publications; Course Information;
China; India; Poland; United States; Cross Site;
Our international collaborators are: SPARROW – Sound and Picture ARchive for Research On Women; Fundacji Kobiecej eFKa; The Chinese Women’s College Shandong Branch; The Institute for Research on Women and Gender;
Address: University of Michigan, Global Feminisms Project, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, 1136 Lane Hall, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290, USA;

About: The ‘Global Feminisms Project’ was funded, beginning in 2002, by a major grant from the Rackham Graduate School, with additional funding provided by the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, the Women’s Studies Program, and the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan.

By documenting individual life stories of activists and scholars, and considering them in their particular historical and cultural contexts, the project records important differences in women’s activism in specific local sites, and questions constructions of ‘global’ feminism that assume a common (Western) set of issues as universal to all women. In addition, the project questions conventional notions of global feminism as the “internationalization of the women’s movement,” which often assumes a transfer eastward of western feminist ideals. Each site has independently developed its list of interviewees, thereby selecting on their own terms the issues that represent aspects of their national histories and women’s movement histories, as well as who should represent them,. The four research teams met twice to review each other’s materials and to discuss the disparate ideas about the body, the public-private divide, the state, law & jurisprudence, and publishing that have emerged from the interviews.

Working at the intersections of the local and global, we hope the collection of life histories can offer scholars and students a nuanced understanding of the dense historical relations, and long history of mutually influential interactions, among women’s movements in and feminist scholarship from different countries and regions. We hope the completed archives from this project, consisting of written transcripts, along with the videotaped interviews, will be a resource for future research on the histories of feminism. These materials will be deposited at each site, thus creating an international network of archives of oral histories that document women’s scholarship and activism. In addition, we are developing a variety of model curricular uses for the narratives–for courses introducing women’s studies scholarship, as well as courses on “global feminism,” on methods, on activism, and in the disciplines. These curricular issues will be explored in September, 2006 at a conference at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Resulting materials will eventually be posted on this website.

Biographical Sketches of Project Members: … (full text).

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