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March 14, 2024

Global Histories of Feminism

Pankaj Mishra in Conversation with Nesrine Malik and Lijia Zhang

Event Series: Global Dialogues Webinars

Showing the Global Histories of Feminism Video

This was the second of three webinars in advance of the Georgetown Global Dialogues (GGD). In conversations with GGD fellows and other leading thinkers, Pankaj Mishra is exploring some of the questions we will be addressing on campus in April in their wider historical context.

The ongoing struggle for women's equality around the world has a deep—and often buried—history. For millennia social, cultural, and religious forces have held women back, relegating them to second-class status in the family and the wider culture and society. The historical struggle for economic, social, and political rights—from property and divorce law to full suffrage, reproductive freedom, and beyond—has unfolded differently and unevenly within and across cultures.

What are some key milestones in the history of women's liberation around the world? How have women driven the process forward, drawing on resources across philosophical, cultural, and spiritual traditions? What lessons do global histories of feminism hold for today's ongoing struggles? Nesrine Malik and Lijia Zhang reflected on these questions in an online conversation moderated by Pankaj Mishra.

This event was co-sponsored by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.


Headshot of Nesrine Malik.

Nesrine Malik

Nesrine Malik is an acclaimed British Sudanese author and journalist known for her wide-ranging commentary on issues of race, identity, politics, and international affairs. She is the author of We Need New Stories: Challenging the Toxic Myths Behind Our Age of Discontent (2019) and has columns in leading outlets including the Guardian, New York Times, and Washington Post that address topics ranging from Islamophobia and feminism to African politics, with deep insights into the ways colonial and postcolonial legacies shape our contemporary world. Malik received the 2021 Robert B. Silvers Prize for Journalism.

Headshot of Lijia Zhang.

Lijia Zhang

Lijia Zhang is a rocket-factory-worker-turned-writer and social commentator. At 16, she was put to work in Nanjing where she taught herself English. Now she is one of the few Chinese who write regularly in English for international publications, such as the New York Times. She is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Socialism Is Great! (2011) and her debut novel Lotus (2017), on prostitution in China, came out in 2017. She is a recipient of the prestigious fellowship for writers at the University of Iowa. She is a regular speaker on the BBC, Channel 4, CNN and NPR.

Headshot of Pankaj Mishra.

Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra (moderator) is a renowned Indian author, essayist, and literary critic with a global readership. Two of his prize-winning books, From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals who Remade Asia (2012) and Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017), explore the history of colonialism and its enduring legacies in our contemporary global era. Mishra is also the author of two critically acclaimed novels: The Romantics (1999) and Run and Hide (2022). His columns and essays have appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, New Yorker, New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books, among other outlets. Mishra is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.