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AIDS and Feminisms

Susan Pietrzyk


This essay focuses on the diverse, historically entangled, and paradoxical struggles for sub-Saharan African women in the wake of AIDS, its impacts, and its discourses.[1] My aim is to foster increased dialogues between AIDS analyses and a range of feminisms to elucidate that engagement with AIDS represents a political engagement. As part of political engagement, I argue that effective strategies to mitigate the impacts of AIDS require attention to feminist practice. I conceptualize feminist practice within the contours of African feminisms, thus outlining approaches which move away from certain elements of global feminisms of the past that have tended to dovetail into problematic first/third world division. The types of feminist practice approaches presented here help to understand that AIDS is not a single epidemic, just as feminism is not a single voice that can be posited from a particular part of the world. Instead African feminismsand constructive ways to address AIDSoutline affinities and differences while also attending to the sundry mixture of divergences and paradoxes to build more pliable understandings of the complex issues sub-Saharan African women experience and face.

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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