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Visiting Speaker - Dr Akanksha Mehta, University of Sussex

Negotiating Space on the Right: Everyday Politics of Israeli Zionist Settler Women in the Southern West Bank

Right-wing movements that have mobilised women have had very uneasy encounters with feminism and feminist politics. Focusing mainly on themes of motherhood and the familial, feminist scholars often view the increasing participation of women in the right-wing as a 'problem' that needs to be 'countered,' thereby silencing the multiplicity of narratives, roles, and politics that encapsulate the everyday experiences of right-wing women.

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Moreover, dominant theorizations of right-wing women either depict them as ‘subjects/victims/pawns’ of right-wing men that live in ‘false consciousness’ or as beings with a ‘quasi/partial/limited’ agency; ignoring sites of complexities, contradictions, subversions, and resistance among right-wing women. In this paper, drawing on ethnographic research conducted with right-wing women in the Zionist Settler movement in Palestine-Israel in 2014, I present narratives that examine the intersections of settler women’s everyday politics and space. I argue that through a politics of the everyday, Zionist settler women construct, transform, and negotiate with space and spatialities. These negotiations on the right not only further their political violence and settler colonialism but also become means to bargain with patriarchal communities/homes, male-formulated ideologies and discourses, and male-dominated right-wing projects and spaces. These spatial negotiations replicate and affirm as well as subvert and challenge patriarchal structures and power hierarchies, troubling the binaries of home/world, private/public, personal/political, and victim/agent.

Akanksha Mehta is a lecturer in International Relations at the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex. She teaches courses on gender, sexuality, race, and political violence. She finished her PhD at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London in 2016, writing a thesis on the everyday politics of right-wing women in the Hindu Nationalist Movement in India and Israeli Zionist Settler Project in the West Bank, Palestine. Her thesis uses ethnographic and narrative material to interrogate conceptualisations of space, agency, violence, and everyday politics. She is currently working on the book manuscript for this project. More recently, she is thinking and writing about critical intersectional and feminist pedagogies and is a part of the Decolonize Sussex movement. She is also a photographer and visual artist.


Akanksha_Mehta___18_Oct_2017.pdf (531K)


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