Mary E. John investigates the metaphor of dislocation within and across two specific locations—the United States and India—in this epistemological inquiry into the production of theory in general and the grounds of feminist ethnography in particular. She probes a set of distinct but related themes: the lines of tension marking U.S. feminism, especially as foregrounded by women of color- the inescapable complexities of feminist theory and practice in India- and the traffic—in theory, feminists, and women—between the two contexts.
Emphasizing the discrepancies in the dislocations articulated by feminists unequally affected by the West and its power, John explores issues of displacement and otherness in contemporary culture. She also raises compelling questions of how location impacts and is impacted by theory.As an Indian scholar schooled in the United States, John works as an anthropologist in reverse, a participant-observer in the world of North American feminist theory. Her argument ranges widely, encompassing profound readings of theorists from Freud to Gayatri Spivak, Hortense Spillers to Aida Hurtado, as well as feminist theorists in India.
By focusing on concepts of displacement, travel, and reterritorialization and by reaffirming a politics of location, John visualizes an alternate internationalism in our rapidly globalizing world.