Bury the Corpse of Colonialism: The Revolutionary Feminist Conference of 1949

Regular price $ 24.95

by Elisabeth B. Armstrong

University of California Press

3/14/2023, paperback

SKU: 9780520390911


An intimate look at the 1949 Asian Women's Conference, the movements it drew from, and its influence on feminist anticolonialism around the world.

In 1949, revolutionary activists from Asia hosted a conference in Beijing that gathered together their comrades from around the world. The Asian Women's Conference developed a new political strategy, demanding that women from occupying colonial nations contest imperialism with the same dedication as women whose countries were occupied. Bury the Corpse of Colonialism shows how activists and movements create a revolutionary theory over time and through struggle--in this case, by launching a strategy for anti-imperialist feminist internationalism.

At the heart of this book are two stories. The first describes how the 1949 conference came to be, how it was experienced, and what it produced. The second follows the delegates home. What movements did they represent? Whose voices did they carry? How did their struggles hone their praxis? By examining the lives of more than a dozen AWC participants, Bury the Corpse of Colonialism traces the vital differences at the heart of internationalist solidarity for women's emancipation in a world structured through militarism, capitalism, patriarchy, and the seeming impossibility of justice.


"Bury the Corpse of Colonialism shows how the women of the Women's International Democratic Federation advanced a theory and practice of internationalism, solidarity with Asian women, and Asian women's leadership several years before the much-vaunted Bandung conference. The women that Armstrong writes about come to life, with their personal stories, journeys, personalities, dedication, and even their senses of humor."--Valentine Moghadam, author of Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks

"Bury the Corpse of Colonialism is an urgent, passionate, and erudite intervention, restoring to its proper place the essential role that African, Asian, Caribbean, and Latin American women played in shaping the international theory and praxis of anti-imperialism in the twentieth century. Elisabeth Armstrong's lucidly written and thoroughly researched book decolonizes the standard history of the origins of global feminism."--Kristen Ghodsee, author of Second World, Second Sex: Socialist Women's Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War

"This is nothing short of a breakthrough for the study of imperialism, and of feminism. Bury the Corpse of Colonialism situates the core of early and mid-twentieth century feminist struggle outside of Western Europe and North America, while also emphasizing women's collective political agency and their experiments in feminist organization."--Manu Karuka, author of Empire's Tracks: Indigenous Nations, Chinese Workers, and the Transcontinental Railroad

About the Author:

Elisabeth B. Armstrong is Professor of the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College.