Gender and Political Action on Women’s Liberation
In Salt of the Earth, The Battle of Algiers, the article on the Battle of Algiers by Donald Reid, and the memoirs of Zohra Drif, Tillion and Rigoberta Menchú, we have met and gotten to know a diversity of women engaged in political action. Using these works as your source base, how does being a woman figure into the practices and goals of these women, whether they are conscious of this or not. Recognize that these women are distinct individuals in a diversity of social positions who take action with different goals in very different cultural and political situations. Comparing men and women operating in the same situations with the same goals in these texts may be more revealing of the role of gender—the social and political construction of masculinity and femininity and other sexual identities—than simply or solely comparing women as women in dissimilar situations. None of these women were primarily engaged in a struggle to liberate women. In your conclusion, assess whether or not they were engaged in women’s liberation (you can draw on a dictionary definition) and how your response helps you understand the meaning of women’s liberation more fully than a dictionary definition.
In the body of the paper, have five paragraphs each of which addresses one text (Salt of the Earth, Battle of Algiers, Drif, Menchu, and Tillion/Drif). In each of these, discuss women’s political actions and how they conform to and contest gender norms and the relation of gender to political action in the historical situation presented in the text. Each paragraph should make a different argument consonant with the particularities of the text and the historical situation it addresses (and perhaps within which it was produced and for what audience).