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Doing Time

Feminist Theory and Postmodern Culture

Rita Felski

Publication Year: 2000

Contemporary theory is full of references to the modern and the postmodern. How useful are these terms? What exactly do they mean? And how is our sense of these terms changing under the pressure of feminist analysis?

In Doing Time, Rita Felski argues that it makes little sense to think of the modern and postmodern as opposing or antithetical terms. Rather, we need a historical perspective that is attuned to cultural and political differences within the same time as well as the leaky boundaries between different times.

Neither the modern nor the postmodern are unified, coherent, or self-evident realities. Drawing on cultural studies and critical theory, Felski examines a range of themes central to debates about postmodern culture, including changing meanings of class, the end of history, the status of art and aesthetics, postmodernism as "the end of sex," and the politics of popular culture. Placing women at the center of analysis, she suggests, has a profound impact on the way we thing about historical periods. As a result, feminist theory is helping to reshape our vision of both the modern and the postmodern.

Published by: NYU Press

CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. vii-x

"I would like to thank Michael B

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-32

"Do we live in the same time or different times? This simple question goes to the heart of recent cultural theory and politics. Debates about universals versus particulars and shared worlds versus incommensurable worlds are also arguments about our embeddedness in history and time. If I think of myself as existing in the same time as others, does this commit me to a belief in universal history? Is it possible to carve up the continuum of time into segments..."

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NOTHING TO DECLARE

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pp. 33-54

"It is a striking fact of scholarly life that talking about oneself has become a virtue. The culture of confession, once limited to self-help manuals, therapy groups, and talk shows, has gradually penetrated the walls of the academy.For critics who are disenchanted with the spread of theory or who simply want to explore different kinds of scholarly writing, autobiography can be an appealing alternative. Getting personal can take a wide variety of forms, from a terse..."

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NEW CULTURAL THEORIES OF MODERNITY

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pp. 55-76

"Modernity is back with a vengeance. People are reflecting anew on the protean meanings of the modern, on its ambiguous legacies and current realities. While only a few years ago, everyone was fixated on postmodernism, we are now going back to that enigmatic phenomenon that precedes the “post.” The significance of modernity is clearly not yet exhausted. Yet this return is also a beginning, as scholars tackle well-worn ideas and calcified..."

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THE INVENTION OF EVERYDAY LIFE

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pp. 77-98

"Everyday life is the most self-evident, yet the most puzzling of ideas. It is a key concept in cultural studies and feminism and an important reference point in other scholarly fields, part of a growing interest in micro-analysis and history from below. Yet those who use the term are often reluctant to explain exactly what it means. While doing the research for this chapter, I was struck by how many recent books mention everyday life in the title and how few list..."

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JUDITH KRANTZ, AUTHOR OF THE CULTURAL LOGICS OF LATE CAPITALISM

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pp. 99-115

"A new form of mass-market fiction has flooded the bookstores and beaches of the Western world. The “money, sex, and power” novel, associated with such authors as Judith Krantz, Jackie Collins, and Barbara Taylor Bradford, is an interesting phenomenon that deserves more sustained attention than it has yet received. One striking feature of the genre is its bold reinterpretation of gender identities and relations. Rather than either repeating the..."

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THE DOXA OF DIFFERENCE

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pp. 116-136

"It is tempting, writes Rodolphe Gasch

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FIN DE SI

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pp. 137-153

"When exactly did history die, and how? Was its demise sudden and catastrophic, as the unspeakable horrors of Auschwitz and Hiroshima shattered, once and for all, any lingering belief in Western myths of progress? Or did it go more slowly, gradually dissolving into glossy media images and nostalgic simulations of an ever more enigmatic past? At what point in time did the idea of history become history, did it become possible to say, “that was then, this is now”?..."

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IMAGES OF THE INTELLECTUAL

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pp. 154-174

"A recurring theme in both postmodern and poststructuralist thought is the anachronism and exhaustion of philosophy. Whether individual thinkers such as Plato, Descartes, or Kant are placed on trial, or the Western metaphysical tradition tout court, the final verdict is often damning. What was once the ultimate repository of human wisdom is now a monument to the hubris of past generations. At best philosophy is subject to gentle mockery for..."

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WHY FEMINISM DOESN’T NEED AN AESTHETIC (AND WHY IT CAN’T IGNORE AESTHETICS)

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pp. 175-192

"My dissatisfaction with feminist aesthetics does not stem from a belief that there are no connections between art and gender politics. Rather, I do not think that feminist aesthetics helps us understand these connections adequately.One reason for this view is my acquaintance with the long history of attempts to define a Marxist aesthetic and the recent critiques of that history.1 By contrast, feminist aesthetics has received less systematic attention. This may be because..."

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FEMINISM, POSTMODERNISM, AND THE CRITIQUE OF MODERNITY

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pp. 193-210

"In this chapter, I look at some points of connection and contradiction between contemporary feminism and the influential if elusive concept of the postmodern. This is a revised version of the first essay I wrote on this subject and covers some important groundwork, though some of the terrain is now relatively familiar. I do not try to survey the vast body of writing on postmodernism or deliver a conclusive judgment on the value of the term. Instead, I..."

INDEX

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pp. 211-214

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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p. 215-215

"RITA FELSKI was born in Birmingham, England. She studied French and German at Cambridge University and went on to do graduate study in Australia. After gaining her M.A. and Ph.D. at Monash University, she taught English and Comparative Literature for several years at Murdoch University in Western Australia. Since 1994 she is Professor of..."


E-ISBN-13: 9780814728703
E-ISBN-10: 0814728707
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814727065
Print-ISBN-10: 0814727069

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2000