Women's Studies in South Africa has recently been subjected to three main clusters of criticism by black academics and activists: (a) the underrepresentation of black women academics, (b) allegations about white academics' misappropriation and misrepresentation of black women's experience, and (c) questions about the accountability of academics to their subjects of study and/ or the broader women's movement. The intensity of this 'representation debate' is fuelled by the need for Women's Studies to define its relationship to a women's movement that is emerging more strongly out of the national liberation movement but is still marginalised within national politics. The authors argue that while it is essential for white academics to take black accusations of racism and ethnocentrism seriously, black academics and activists must confront the divisions of class and culture among black women and recognise the particular character of academic work. Experience is not the only source of understanding. However, for research to be feminist, there must be a broad political commitment. With this commitment, feminist academics form one, nonhegemonic component of the alliance of different constituencies that make up the women's movement.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/0277-5395(93)90101-E
Journal Women's Studies International Forum
Citation
Hassim, S, & Walker, C. (Cherryl). (1993). Women's studies and the women's movement in South Africa. Defining a relationship. Women's Studies International Forum, 16(5), 523–534. doi:10.1016/0277-5395(93)90101-E