For a Revolutionary Feminist World-Systems Analysis
The Case of Ghadar
Keywords:World-Systems Analysis, Feminist Theory, Anti-colonial Movements, Ghadar Party, South Asia, Historical Sociology
In revolutionary anti-colonial movements, women's involvement has been limited, and their contributions often marginalized or forgotten. This is not only an empirical puzzle in that anti-colonial movements have historically recruited women and furthered feminist discourse while also marginalizing female members, but also a political problem for movements that the lived reality for female participants diverges from the egalitarian philosophies of the movements themselves. In this article, I build on and further develop theories of feminist world-systems analysis, contending that feminist world-systems needs to rethink theories of anti-systemic movements to better include women’s revolutionary roles as active agents in the historical process of colonial independence and decolonization. In so doing, I contend that a revolutionary feminist world-systems analysis is increasingly important to analyze that women’s active roles as revolutionary agents have been sidelined because the movements that they have been a part of have also found themselves co-opted by dominant liberal ideology. This theoretical position is illustrated through an analysis of the published periodicals of the anti-colonial Ghadar Party. Through this empirical case study, I show that Ghadar’s revolutionary potential receded to the background because of its failures to fully include its female members. This case study is then levied to demonstrate how reviving a feminist world-systems analysis can help us better theorize women’s important but under-analyzed role in revolutionary anti-colonial movements.
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