Friday, March 14, 2014

The Role of Feminism in Colonialism

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Both The Poisonwood Bible and Alice in Wonderland ask the question: “What role does feminism play in colonialism?” Colonialism and imperialism are typically movements attributed to men—not only colonizing and conquering new lands, but also figuratively conquering women themselves. However, both texts figure women as colonists, though unsuccessful ones. They are not aggressively conquering the new lands they come in contact with, but are rather displaced females who are disoriented and confused by the shift from the values and doctrine of their patriarchal homeland and the things they have learned in the new world. Do these texts make a point that women are not conquerors, but absorbers? Are they saying that women are primarily interested in having empathy for and understanding new people and practices rather than overcoming and replacing them? 

I plan on circulating this question through an email to my fellow writers and staffers on Insight Magazine with me.


  1. Interesting! I am trying to analyze the feminism my text and Alice in Wonderland. I am curious though; how does Alice ask the question about feminism and colonialism? I am struggling to find very clear examples of feminism in Alice in Wonderland.

  2. I agree with Tori -- you seem to have assumed that Alice in Wonderland asks questions about feminism when it seems to me that this is actually something you'll need to establish interpretively. It could be solved with some simple rephrasing, I think, such as "aspects of both feminism and colonialism are found in Alice in Wonderland" or "if one views Lewis Carroll's work through the lenses of feminism and colonialism, one finds..." Other than that, this is very clear and I hope to hear about some good responses from your Insight friends. One thought: if there are many of you in the class taking a feminist approach, you might consult with one another on the peers you are consulting. (Check who else has posted using the "feminism" label). I know both Tori and Krista are thinking along these lines.