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T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/25666

Title: Knowledge is Made for Cutting: Genealogies of Race and Gender in Female Circumcision Discourse
Authors: Noss, Kaitlin E.
Advisor: Nestel, Sheryl
Department: Sociology and Equity Studies in Education
Keywords: female circumcision
international development
biopolitics
Maasai
gender
race
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2011
Abstract: This thesis analyzes examples of current female circumcision discourse within U.S. feminist contexts and western-based anti-circumcision projects operating in Kenya. This analysis reveals that, despite recent critiques from postcolonial scholars and activists, the knowledge produced around female circumcision perpetuates discursive and material violence against Kenyan Maasai communities. I explore how this violence has persisted in neo/colonial eras as part of the white western feminist ‘care of self’ technique of displacing female abjection through the pleasure of whiteness. I trace how these formations of race and gender have become attached to understandings of genitalia through colonial-era race science, Freudian psychoanalysis and some feminist texts from 1949-1970. I suggest that these western feminist constructions of sexual liberation rely on depicting racialized women as primitive and degenerate. Finally, I argue that these racial and gendered constructions now inform concepts of ‘developed’ versus ‘underdeveloped’ bodies and nations in contemporary international development work.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/25666
Appears in Collections:Master
Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education - Master theses

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