On Contemporary Feminist Theory

On Contemporary Feminist Theory

The 1980s have been named “the decade of the humanities.” In institutions of higher learning all across the country a debate is underway as to what constitutes the “tradition,” the “canon” of literary, artistic, and philosophical works worth transmitting to future generations. At the center of this debate is the following question: If what have hitherto been considered the major works of the Western tradition are, almost uniformly, the product of a specific group of individuals— propertied, white, European, and North-American males—how universal and representative is their message, how inclusive is their scope, and how unbiased their vision? In continuing to insist that their work alone constitutes the canon, are we not participating in the silencing, marginalization, and oppression of those “others,” mainly women, nonwhite peoples, and members of non-Graeco-Roman and non-Christian traditions?

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Duggan | University of California Press Gardels