Chandra Talpade Mohanty

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Chandra Talpade Mohanty
Born 1955
Mumbai, India
Citizenship American
Fields Women's studies, feminism
Institutions Hamilton College; Syracuse University
Alma mater University of Delhi; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Chandra Talpade Mohanty (born 1955) is a postcolonial and transnational feminist theorist. As of 2013, she has served as the women's studies department chair and professor of Women's and Gender Studies, Sociology, and the Cultural Foundations of Education and Dean's Professor of the Humanities at Syracuse University. Mohanty has argued for the inclusion of a transnational approach in exploring women’s experiences across the world. Central to Mohanty’s transnational mission is the project of building a “non-colonizing feminist solidarity across the borders,” through an intersectional analysis of race, nation, colonialism, sexuality, class and gender.

Personal background[edit]

Chandra Talpade Mohanty was born in 1955, in Mumbai, India.[citation needed] While she was born and raised in India, she has spent time in Nigeria and London. In 2005, she became a US citizen.[1]

In 1974, she graduated with honors and a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delhi in India. After graduation, she continued her education, earning a Master's degree in English in 1976. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, from where she earned a Master's degree in Education, specifically in teaching English in 1980. She continued her education in Illinois, earning a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987. She is additionally the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate, Faculty of Social Sciences, Lund University Sweden, presented in 2008,[2] and an Honorary Doctorate in humanities from the College of Wooster, Ohio, awarded in 2012.[3]

Professional background[edit]

As of 2013, Mohanty has served as the women's studies department chair at Syracuse University. Earlier, she served as a professor of women's studies at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.[2] She became known after the publication of her 1984 essay, "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses",[4] in which she states,

The relationship between 'Woman'—a cultural and ideological composite other constructed through diverse representational discourses (scientific, literary, juridical, linguistic, cinematic, etc.)—and 'women'—real, material subjects of their collective histories—is one of the central questions the practice of feminist scholarship seeks to address."[5]

In this essay, Mohanty critiques the political project of Western feminism and its discursive construction of the category of the "Third World woman" as a homogenous entity. Mohanty states that Western feminisms have tended to gloss over the differences between Southern women, but that the experience of oppression is incredibly diverse, and contingent upon geography, history, and culture.[5][6] Her paper was a seminal work, highlighting the difficulties faced by feminists from the Third World in being heard within the broader feminist movement, and it led to a "redefining of power relationships" between feminists within the First and Third worlds.[4]

In 2003, Mohanty released her book Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. In this work, she argues for a bridging of theory and praxis, and the personal and the political. Major themes addressed include the politics of difference, transnational solidarity building, and anticapitalist struggle against neoliberal globalization. As well as reprinting "Under Western Eyes", in the final section, "Reorienting Feminism", Mohanty offers a response to criticism of the essay, and "reiterates her belief in the possibility, indeed necessity, of building common political projects between Third World and Western feminisms".[7]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade; Russo, Anne; and Lourdes M. Torres (1991). Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, Indiana University Press, 338 pages. ISBN 978-0253206329
  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade; and M. Jacqui Alexander (1996). Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures, Routledge Press, 464 pages. ISBN 978-0415912112
  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade (2003). Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, Duke University Press Books, 300 pages.. ISBN 978-0822330219
  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade; Riley, Robin L.; and Minnie Bruce Pratt (2008). Feminism and War: Confronting U.S. Imperialism, Zed Books, 280 pages. ISBN 978-1848130180

See Also[edit]


  1. ^ Formes, Malia. (2005) "Review of Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity". H-Women, H-Net Reviews. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Chandra Talpade Mohanty". Syracuse University. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  3. ^ Finn, John. (May 15, 2012). "College of Wooster's Class of 2012 Receives Final Instructions for the Journey Ahead", Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Dua, Ena; Trotz, Alissa. (2002). "Transnational Pedagogy: Doing Political Work in Women's Studies". Atlantis 26:2. p66"
  5. ^ a b Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. (1984). "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses". Boundary 2. 12:3-13:1. pp. 333-358.
  6. ^ Felski, Rita. (1997) "The Doxa of Difference". Signs, 23:1. pp. 1-21
  7. ^ Thobani, Sunera. (2005). "Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity (review)", Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. 20:3. pp 221-224.