Feminist Dissent brings together innovative and critical insights to enhance our understanding of the relationship between gender, fundamentalism and related socio-political issues. It aims to fill a gap in the existing literature by creating space to interrogate the multi-faceted links between historical and resurgent religious fundamentalism and gender. It further aims to open up new ways of thinking about secularism, religious freedom, civil liberties and human rights, nationalism and identity politics, anti-racism and multiculturalism, neoliberalism, and feminist resistance.
By religious fundamentalism we refer to modern religious- political interpretations of religious texts, which aim to create a social order based on a 'return to fundamentals' of an imaginary utopian past. The control of the minds and bodies of women and sexual minorities are central to this ideology. Fundamentalist movements want to impose their version of religion as the only valid one. They aim to reduce plural spaces and the right to interpret, dissent and doubt. They are often backed by violence or the threat of violence aimed at creating an atmosphere of terror. They are frequently flexible about the means they deploy and may seek to overthrow the existing order or make use of the institutions of the state such as parliament, the army, police and judiciary. They tend to use modern technologies and cultural and democratic spaces in order to establish and consolidate their power, whether in the community or the state. In many cases they make skilful use of the language of human rights while undermining fundamental rights and the principle of universality. In the most extreme cases, their ideology and activities amount to crimes against humanity and genocide.
Our editorial board is a collective of feminist academics, activists and writers. The journal is designed to create space for feminists who believe that certain approaches currently dominant in academic, activist and popular discourses (including but not confined to feminist theory, anti-racism, postcolonialism, postmodernism and poststructuralism) have occluded the challenges that women and other dissenters face, as fundamentalist movements threaten their rights, their prospects and their very being. We are a collective committed to justice and gathering evidence, expanding the debate beyond the usual social, ethnic and national boundaries, and asking difficult questions. At a time of rising religious fundamentalism accompanied by intensifying threats to civil liberties, freedom of expression, dissent, and difference, we aim to create what we believe we need most – a space where contributors can say the things that we have not been able to say. We hope this will narrow the distance between dominant feminist thinking and lived experience, and give rise to new coalitions of feminists committed not just to writing about justice, but to fighting for it.
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