feminist anthropology

Robert Thornton (031RTHOR@MUSE.ARTS.WITS.AC.ZA)
Fri, 31 May 1996 12:08:34 -0400

Jon Patore asked:
>> Thank you Carolyn for your answer, but, again, please excuse my
>> ignorance: what is "feminist paradigm"?

and Carolyn Martin replied:
> I'm not even going to touch that one, for a few days, anyway.
> What do they teach them in these schools?

It is a shame that just when every one was behaving so nicely,
feminism rears it head and John gets a snotty reply to a perfectly
valid question. What is it about this feminism that creates this
atmosphere of anger and distrust?!

I, for one, and
there is obviously at least one other, would still
like to know what is a 'feminist paradigm'. Is Adrienne right that,
as some suspect, it is just about dislike of men? Somehow, I doubt
tht is all there is to it, but there is clearly a great deal of
sensitivity about being asked by males to define the topic area or
its content.

The only book I know that really attempts to tackle it seems to be
Marilyn Strathern's _Gender of the Gift_, but I have known 'true'
feminists to get a bit sarky about this book. She claims to sustain a
three way dialog between feminism, anthropology and a New Guinea or
Melanesian perspective. The anthropology and the Melanesian
metaphysical discourses are absolute the best there is in
contemporrary anthropology, but I would not say that I know what a
'feminist paradigm' is after reading the book, and others like
Henrietta Moore's book.

So, as an honest query, please do tell us, what *is*
a feminist paradigm? In all sincerity! Give yourself a few days, but
*do* tell.
===========Robert Thornton, Department of Social Anthropology======
University of the Witwatersrand, PO Wits, 2050 Johannesburg
South Africa
Office tel. : (011) 716-2900
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