Native women, theory and research : contexts and contestations
St. Germaine-Small, Melissa.
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In this thesis I outline a critical approach to interpreting the considerable academic literature on Aboriginal women in North America. I locate the scholarship concerning Native women within an understanding of three developments related to a philosophy of science: (I) paradigmatic shifts concerning the philosophy of science, (2) materialist-idealist debates and (3) transitions in feminist theory characterized by what is tenned the shift from second to third wave feminism. My exploration of emergent themes suggests that the elements indicated above provide overlapping frameworks within which most scholarship about Indigenous women is positioned. I illustrate my finding that employing critical discourse analysis and postcolonial feminism as both method and theory provides a useful approach in attending to intersecting experiences of 'race, class, and gender.' I view these intersecting experiences as central to the socio-political positioning of Indigenous women within contemporary feminist theorizing. I conclude my thesis by reflecting on the conceptual struggles I experienced in fonnulating and organizing the thesis and the significance of my underlying epistemological position and value-orientation as both a feminist and Native woman.
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