Commodified Women and the Racial Other on the Shores of Empire
This chapter examines how Woolf's writing reflects a perception of woman as one of many different others whose identity and dignity as human beings are denied by the othering process of patriarchal imperialism. It considers a three-page passage in The Voyage Out that demonstrates how Woolf's shrewd understanding of the interconnections between wealth, gender, and race—integral to colonialism—underpins her critique of Empire. It is argued that here Woolf brings to visibility how gender is instrumental to imperialism and the discourse of race by deconstructing the politics of Empire in ways that anticipate Spivak's economic reframing of Benjamin's “culturalism” and her gendered critique of Marx (Spivak, “Scattered Speculations”). Then, in The Waves, the connection between imperialism, race, and gender is unexpectedly reforged into radical images of resistance.
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