Doing Time: Feminist Theory and Postmodern Culture

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Nine essays that Felski (English, U. of Virginia) has revised from publication elsewhere grapple with whether people live in the same time, whether it is possible to talk about men's time and women's or Western and non-Western time, how to explain that individuals and groups may perceive time very differently and yet seem to inhabit the same time in crucial respects, and what the stakes are in either affirming or denying the contemporaneity and coevalness of others. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"Through a composite itinerary which mirrors the amplitude of the author's theoretical interests-in the borderland between literary criticism, philosophy, sociology and cultural studies-the volume contributes to the debate on postmodernism/poststructuralism/feminism with particular force and argumentative intelligence. In fact, the perspective it opens challenges some of the most usual commonplaces of the contemporary feminist debate."

-Feminist Theory,

A "reasoned, commonsensical approach to thorny postmodern philosophicaland political dilemmas."

-Modern Fiction Studies,

"Rita Felski's reflection on the cultural politics of time makes for fascinating reading. Her thoughtful and savvy essays raise the debate about modernity and postmodernity to a new level of sophistication."

-Nancy Fraser,New School for Social Research

"Rita Felski is one of today's most audacious and versatile feminist thinkers. Adopting gender and temporal difference as an enabling analytical perspective rather than as an objective focus, she argues for a recognition of both the ordinariness of the everyday and the continued relevance of 'the big picture' in the postmodern world. Doing Time dissects some of the major intellectual quandaries of our time with quiet passion, astute thoroughness, and admirable clarity."

-Ien Ang,University of Western Sydney

"In these captivating essays, Rita Felski weaves together an important and original inquiry into the tangled relations among postmodernism, modernity, class politics, and feminism. Refusing the solace of 'final' answers, Felski offers instead a series of vibrant investigations into the gray zones of lived relations. Doing Time is lucidly written, powerfully theorized, trenchantly argued, and compels us to reevaluate the cultural contexts through which 'modernity' has been understood."

-Janet Lyon,University of Illinois

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814727065
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Series: Cultural Front Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

RITA FELSKI is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Her previous books include Beyond Feminist Aesthetics: Feminist Literature and Social Change and The Gender of Modernity.

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