Feminist Activist Politics And Sisterhood In The Life Narratives Of Audre Lorde And June Jordan
İlimen, Ezgi. Feminist Activist Politics and Sisterhood in the Life Narratives of Audre Lorde and June Jordan, Master’s Thesis. Ankara, 2017. African American feminist writers Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and June Jordan’s Soldier: A Poet’s Childhood are examples of women’s life writing tradition. These coming of age memoirs describe the traumatic ordeals of their narrators under the shadow of racism, sexism, classism and ethnocentrism. The young narrators’ struggles for visible identities are further complicated by the contradictory and prejudiced definitions of womanhood prevalent in their Caribbean African American background and in the assimilationist attitudes of the white community. Despite the contradictory and conflicting cultural codes of their environments, the narrators are able to come to an understanding of their racial and gender positionalities and form independent female identities through solidarity and sisterhood, while redefining socially constructed race and gender norms with a feminist consciousness. Audre Lorde’s essay collection Sister Outsider, her illness narrative/memoir The Cancer Journals and June Jordan’s essay collection Civil Wars are autobiographical feminist manifestos. These works reflect feminist perspectives and agendas that connect African Americans to other communities around the world. Lorde’s and Jordan’s transnational views suggest that the dominant patriarchal outlook can cause the intersectionality of racism, misogyny and classism in developing and developed nations. Unlike white middle class feminism or separatist identity politics, they advocate coalition politics, which regards women’s voices as powerful narratives against ignorance, censorship and the standardization of de-storied women, addressing working class women, sexual objectification, essentialist media and body politics, domestic/public violence and other discrimination. The above-mentioned works represent a shift from Second Wave to Third Wave feminist concerns by encouraging pluralistic, polyvocal and multi-issue feminisms. Key Words: Life narratives, African American Feminism, Identity, Intersectionality, Coalition, Sisterhood.