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The case of Angela Davis in Egypt
Sara Salem

In the early 1980s, Angela Davis visited Egypt, a trip she wrote about in her book Women, Culture, and Politics. This chapter uses Davis’ trip as a lens through which to approach the question of transnational feminist solidarity through the eyes of multiple generations of Egyptian feminists. It argues that the particular conditions in Egypt in the 1950s through to the 1970s allowed for new international forms of solidarity focused on material conditions. This enabled Egyptian feminists to forge solidarity with women across the globe, including Angela Davis, who located gender oppression within the same structures – namely, capitalism and imperialism. This type of solidarity was made possible by the particular political and economic context of the 1950s–80s, which differed radically from the eras preceding and following it, as well as the analysis that came out of this context, including a strong focus on capitalism and imperialism. Indeed, the decline of this type of analysis can be located in the changes that occurred in Egypt in the 1970s and 1980s – following the shift to an open-market economy. This shift has had major effects on the ways in which Egyptian feminists imagined and put into practice forms of transnational feminist solidarity. By looking at Davis’ encounter with Egyptian feminists, this chapter demonstrates how practices that were built on a material analysis of gender allowed for solidarity to be created by making differences productive rather than merely divisive.

in Transnational solidarity