Transnational Reversed: Women Organizing Against Gendered Violence in Bangladesh

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(SUNY Press, 2011)

By Elora Chowdhury


Acid attacks against women and girls have captured the attention of the global media, with several high-profile reports ranging from the BBC to The Oprah Winfrey Show. In Bangladesh, reasons for the attacks include women’s rejection of sexual advances from men, refusal of marriage proposals, family or land disputes, and unmet dowry demands. The consequences are multiple: permanent marks on the body, disfiguration, and potential blindness. In Transnationalism Reversed, Elora Halim Chowdhury explores the complicated terrain of women’s transnational antiviolence organizing by focusing on the work done in Bangladesh around acid attacks—and the ways in which the state, international agencies, local expatriates, US media, Bangladeshi immigrants in the United States, survivor-activists, and local women’s organizations engage the pragmatics and the transnational rhetoric of empowerment, rescue, and rehabilitation. Grounded in careful ethnographic work, oral history, and theoretical and filmic analysis, Transnationalism Reversedmakes a significant contribution to conversations around gendered violence, transnational feminist praxis, and the politics of organizing—particularly around NGOs—in the global South.