International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online)

Toward a Theory of Emancipation: Feminist Critiques of Postmodernism
Patti Nyman

This paper addresses the relationship between the theoretical and practical methods and goals of feminists and postmodernists. It specifically addresses whether the foundational ideas of postmodernist philosophy undermine the emancipatory concerns of women. Through evaluating two of the defining theses of postmodernist philosophy, namely, the “Death of Man” and the “Death of History,” I argue that the strong version of the postmodernist critique of the concepts of subjectivity and history is incompatible with the social criticism central to feminism. In opposition to the view that deems these concepts as necessarily androcentric and in need of thorough abandonment, I show that what is required is a re-appropriation that takes into account the situatedness of the subject and the often non-unitary nature of historical narrative.

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