5 Pages


WithNancy C.M. Hartsock

Feminist theory must locate itself in terms of both victimhood and complicity. Attention to the specifics of each group’s situation must recognize the fact that the subordination of different groups is often obtained and maintained by different mechanisms. In particular, postmodernist/poststructuralist theories’ stress on dissonance, incommensurability, depthlessness, and the need to move to the margin has led some feminist theorists to find them attractive resources. Feminist theory must be understood not only as analysis but also as an instrument of struggle against dominant groups and empowerment for the dominated. Feminist theory is at once entrenched and marginalized in academia. On the one hand, feminist theorists have been drawn into disciplinary and interdisciplinary debates. On the other, many academic disciplines operate in large part as though feminist work was nonexistent. The academic battles center on cultural studies, the science wars, and the status of interdisciplinary work.