Eco/feminism and rewriting the ending of feminism: From the Chipko movement to Clayoquot Sound

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Abstract

This article draws on research at an eco/feminist peace camp set up to facilitate blockades against clear-cut logging in coastal temperate rainforest in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in Canada in the early 1990s. The camp was said to be based on feminist principles and sometimes these were even articulated as eco/feminist principles. The slippage between these terms provides a focus for my discussion. Specifically the article explores the apparent paradox of the sheer vitality of this eco/feminist activism, and in particular its insistence on international connections, in contrast to the widely circulating accounts of the end of feminism, and especially the end of global sisterhood, which emerged in the early 1990s. Thus this article is also necessarily about how recent histories of eco/feminism, including tensions between theory and activism, are narrated. I take as a departure point references to the work of Vandana Shiva and the Chipko movement which circulated in accounts of the camp, and explore ways in which eco/feminists might read such utterances as more than evidence of a naive and problematic universalism. I situate eco/feminism’s internationalism genealogically in feminism and eco/feminism and read this as a counter-narrative to the ending of global sisterhood. Through paying attention to various movements, back and forth, between Clayoquot and Chipko, Canada and India, and drawing on Anna Tsing’s notion of ‘friction’, I offer an account of what has been at stake in disavowals of the possibility of reading Chipko as eco/feminist, and suggest the importance of a more generous reading of eco/feminists’ attention to the Chipko movement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
JournalFeminist Theory
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011

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