Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Inequality
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
Feminist thought has had a profound influence in the anthropological imagination over the past four decades. We can now look back on the early debates over egalitarian societies and the origins of women’s oppression, theories positing that the gender division of labor marked by men’s productive and women’s reproductive labor accounts for women’s secondary status, and more recent interventions challenging binaries and Western thinking more generally. Today, many feminist anthropologists are questioning reductionist categories of analysis that do not do justice to the complex cultural, political, economic, and other factors that give shape to women’s and men’s experiences across societies. For some of us, the decolonial turn in scholarship in both the global North and South has been highly generative to rethinking our approaches to gender, race, class, and sexuality, and to taking seriously the protagonism of women in social scripts embracing a wide variety of narratives. Our panel will take the rich history of feminist anthropological thought into account as we consider its power to shed light on one world area, the Andean region.
One member of the panel, Florence Babb, has recently completed a book-length work tracing her own academic trajectory as a feminist anthropologist working in Peru over the course of forty years. She brings a critical contemporary eye to examining the debates around Andean women since the 1970s, arguing that a decolonial feminist perspective can give us a new appreciation for some earlier theoretical interventions and also enable us to push toward more inclusive (and less culture-bound) interpretations. Other panel presenters, Molly Green, Dayuma Albán, Lucía Stavig, Maja Jeranko, and Francesca Sorbara represent the next generation of feminist anthropologists, who are directing their research gaze to a host of urgent matters in the region and showing what current feminist thinking is offering to the field of anthropology and beyond. Their emergent work spanning climate change and land claims in Colombia, oil extraction and post-disaster relief in Ecuador, and the politics of forced sterilization in Peru takes novel approaches and promises to be visionary in pressing against any limitations in the anthropological imagination. Our discussant, Krista Van Vleet, is well-positioned to draw on her long-term scholarship based in Bolivia and Peru as she comments on the panel presentations and their contribution to ongoing conversations in feminist anthropology. Taken together and most broadly, the panelists will be showcasing both advances and challenges in deepening productive discussion at the theoretical and ethnographic intersections of feminism and anthropology.