This book works at the intersection of two related yet different fields. One is the heterogeneous feminist effort to question universal forms of knowing. The expression 'embodiment of knowledge' deploys the notions of time (as history), space (as location) and politics (as partiality of perspective or standpoint) to interrogate the purported universality of knowing. Embodiment is one important concept through which feminist philosophies try to perceive the attempt of questioning the universal. The second field follows from mind/body dichotomy. Embodiment is traditionally understood to involve an act of simple inversion - valorizing the (material) body in place of the mind. However, if meanings are seen to produce the body as 'a system of signification', embodiment gets reduced to another form of the significatory mechanism. The book explored the dynamics of the production of the 'body' with a focus on the 'others' (death, sexual and colonial differences) that fracture and define the notion of the body. An ethical responsibility to the 'others' consonant with this ontologically differentiated body distinguishes this notion of embodiment from standard versions of 'third world feminism'. The development of this notion requires an elaboration of the ways in which power and scientific rationality work (epistemically) in a postcolonial setting. Finally, the book presents the notion of embodied knowledges as inseparable from a deconstructive politics of the (im)possible.
Toward a Politics of the (Im)Possible
The Body in Third World Feminisms