When we began this project, we did not realize how long it would take
us to get from start to finish, from a collaborative interest in how non-
governmental organizations (nGos) were changing the nature of feminist
organizing globally to an anthology that ended up reflecting on an already
established new feminist landscape. In this process we benefited from the
work of those who are included in this collection, and that of other schol-
ars who contributed to our thinking on the topic. We read the work of,
spoke to, and participated in conferences with many excellent feminist
researchers who, along with us, have been thinking about the path that
feminism has taken over the last couple of decades. There is a community
of feminist scholars within the academy and outside it, and their writings
on nGos have changed the way we look at activism and feminism. Simul-
taneously they have enabled us to think about the state and civil society,
and thus about culture and politics in the twenty- first century. This col-
lection is part of the ongoing conversation in that community.
This project has benefited from the support and participation of nu-
merous institutions, individuals, and groups. We would like to thank the
Rockefeller Foundation for funding our Team Project on “Democratizing
Women: nGos, Empowerment, and Marginalization in the 21st Century,”
at the Bellagio Center in Italy in August 2004. Our conversations there
with some superb participants—including Ambra Pirri, Surina Khan,
Lamia Karim, Barbara Einhorn, Sabine Lang, Adetoun Ilumoka, Amina
Jamal, and Mary John—raised important questions that are reflected in
this anthology. We are also grateful both to the Humanities Research In-
stitute of the University of California and its director, David Theo Gold-
berg, for supporting the Conference on Global Circuits of Feminism that
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