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Record Type: Review   ID: 867


Nicholson, Linda J.

 This volume brings together some penetrating essays on both feminist thought and postmodernism. A major thrust of both feminists and postmodernists is to criticize the alleged "neutrality" and "objectivity" of Western scholarship, including such disciplines as parapsychology, ufology, and other forms of "anomalies research" and any of the traditional views of religious experience. As Nicholson puts it, the radical "postmodern turn was to claim that the very criteria demarcating the true and the false, as well as such relaxed distinctions as science and myth or fact and superstitions were internal to the traditions of modernity and could not be legitimized outside of those traditions. Moreover, it was argued that the very development and use of such critieria . . . had to be described as representing the growth and development of specific 'regimes of power' " (p. 4), rather than presenting the so-called "God's eye view." Postmodernists, in other words, question the very legitimacy of "a transcendent reason" (p. 4). The postmodern view has much in common with feminist thought, although much feminist scholarship is subject to the same criticisms as the modern worldview. In this sense, feminist thought would seem to need or develop postmodern perspectives. But from the viewpoint of feminist politics, postmodernism may not be in order for women, because it would "weaken what is not yet strong" (p. 6). Women must first have their Enlightenment and develop its fruits before submitting to deconstruction. Moreover, postmodern approaches lead to relativism and the abandonment of theory leading to a "problematic 'view from everywhere' " (p. 9). These questions are debated in these epistemological essays by some key feminists such as Nancy Fraser, Jane Flax, Christine DiStefano, Sandra Harding, Seyla Benhabib, Susan Bordo, Nancy Hartsock, Elspeth Probyn, Donna Haraway, Andreas Huyssen, Anna Yeatman, Iris Marion Young, Judith Butler, and Linda Nicholson herself. A careful reading will be very rewarding, not because these provocative essays provide answers, but because of all the wondrous questions that they raise.
Publisher Information:New York: Routledge, 1990. 348p. Chap. bibl; Index: 341-345
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