26 Pages

Introduction Inquiry among the Ruins

The feminist educators writing for this volume acknowledge in various ways that they are working in the “twilight of foundationalism” (Nicholson, 1999, p. 117), after the crises of representation and legitimation, and through and out of a restless “post” period that troubles all those things we assumed were solid, substantial, and wholeknowledge, truth, reality, reason, science, progress, the subject, and so forth. During the last half of the twentieth century, poststructuralism2 in all its manifestations, along with other “posts”3 that describe continuing skepticism about regimes of truth that have failed us, has worked the ruins4 of humanism’s version of those concepts. Rather than finding despair, paralysis, nihilism, apoliticism, irresponsibility, or immorality in the decay and devastation of the ruins (charges such as these are often used to dismiss poststructuralism, but some believe they describe the foundational world),5 these feminists have found possibilities for different worlds that might, perhaps, not be so cruel to so many people.