Transnational Feminism in the United States

Knowledge, Ethics, Power

256 pages

March, 2013

ISBN: 9780814760963



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Leela Fernandes is the Glenda Dickerson Collegiate Professor of Women’s Studies and Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan, and author of India’s New Middle Class: Democratic Politics in an Era of Economic Reform; Producing Workers: The Politics of Gender, Class and Culture in the Calcutta Jute Mills; and Transforming Feminist Practice.

All books by Leela Fernandes

The acceleration of economic globalization and the rapid global flows of people, culture, and information have intensified the importance of developing transnational understandings of contemporary issues. Transnational feminist perspectives have provided a unique outlook on women’s lives and have deepened our understanding of the gendered nature of global processes. Transnational Feminism in the United States examines how transnational perspectives shape the ways in which we create and disseminate knowledge about the world within the United States, and how the paradigm of transnational feminism is affected by national narratives and public discourses within the country itself.
An innovative theoretical project that is both deconstructive and constructive, this bookinterrogates the limits of feminist thought, primarily through case studies that illustrate its power to create new fields of research out of traditionally interdisciplinary lines of inquiry. Leela Fernandes discusses ways to approach, analyze, and capture processes that exceed and unsettle the nation-state within the transnational feminist paradigm. Examining the links between power and knowledge that bind interdisciplinary theory and research, she shines new light on issues such as human rights as well as academic debates about transnational feminist perspectives on global issues. A thought-provoking analysis, Transnational Feminism in the United States powerfully contributes to the field of Women’s Studies and related cross-disciplinary scholarship on feminist theory and gender from a global perspective.


  • "Leela Fernandes focuses a sharp analytic lens on the representational practices, cross-border politics, and symbolic constructions of transnationalism within U.S. feminism. Her call for accountability and interrogation of feminist knowledge production is one that should be heard by all those interested in challenging inequalities and resisting disciplining tendencies within transnational feminist praxis."

    —Nancy Naples, author of Grassroots Warriors: Activist Mothering, Community Work, and the War on Poverty

  • "Unveiling the reproduction of the national in the transnational and the disciplining of interdisciplinarity, Fernandes deftly illustrates the minefields that women's and gender studies, postcolonial, and other interdisciplinary scholars traverse as they seek to produce transformative knowledge. Transnational Feminism in the United States is essential reading, ushering us into a more ethical practice of feminism and politics."

    —Nikol G. Alexander-Floyd, author of Gender, Race, and Nationalism in Contemporary Black Politics

  • “With a clear introduction that offers each chapter’s argument, this text is simultaneously challenging and approachable. It is accessible for specific purposes, as each essay can stand alone. The arguments are clearly and systematically laid out in this thoroughly research and articulate text.”

    —, Journal of American Culture

  • "Through this collection's five loosely connected essays...full of provocative arguments, Fernandes offers a cautionary analysis of the trajectory of 'transnational feminism' in women's studies in the U.S. academy." 

    WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly

  • "Will help [readers] realize how transnational feminism has been influenced by the dominant language of human rights . . . [and] sharpens a critical sensibility on how to study women's issues globally."