Dissertation abstract (short version)
My PhD thesis addresses one of the most contested concepts in feminist theory and activism: solidarity. Scholars and activists from oppressed social groups have rightly criticized appeals to feminist solidarity for reflecting paternalistic assumptions and ignoring the vast differences in women’s power and privilege. But renewed interest in the prospect of feminist solidarity in recent years, buoyed by feminist global activism against gendered violence (e.g., the #MeToo movement), gives us reason to revisit it. In my thesis, I take valid critiques of earlier iterations of feminist solidarity as a point of departure for analyzing the normative claims underlying appeals to this ideal today. Through a moral and political ethnographic lens, I ground my philosophical inquiry in qualitative research fieldwork I conducted in fall 2019 with Senegalese women’s rights activists and non-governmental organizations workers that coalesced in order to demand justice related to gender-based violence. My contribution, situated within nonideal normative political theory, adopts a resolutely engaged and grounded philosophical approach to political solidarity.
Note that I am currently revising key ideas from this thesis for publishing it in a book format.