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Enlightened Women

Enlightened Women

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Published by Nennoia

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Published by: Nennoia on Feb 03, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/12/2013

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Enlightened Women
‘This is a brave and intellectually rigorous book, which goesagainst the grain of current orthodoxies to challenge some of the postmodern assumptions in the interest of a political project—feminism—that we should not discard.’Elizabeth WilsonOver the last few years, postmodern feminist theory has itself becomeacademic orthodoxy. The humanist subject is dead, there is no objectivereality, and those who use the category ‘woman’ collude in oppressivediscursive practices—positions like these are by now part of thepostmodern mainstream. With
Enlightened Women
Alison Assiter mountsa radical critique of this wholesale rejection of Enlightenment thought.In the opening chapters of her book, Assiter provides a lucid exposition of contemporary postmodern feminism. She analyses the writings of some of its most influential theorists, and places them in the wider context of postmodern and poststructuralist theory as developed, for example, byLyotard and Derrida. Assiter then develops a critique of the antirealiststance that unites postmodern thinkers and makes a powerful argument forepistemological realism.In later chapters, Assiter goes on to outline a ‘modernist’ feministepistemology based on communities rather than the individual; she assertsthat a version of the humanist subject based on bodily identity can bedefended against postmodernist deconstructions; and she demonstrates thatwe can indeed make claims about women that are universally true.
Enlightened Women
argues for retaining the distinction between sex andgender and concludes with an alternative reading of the theory of sexuality.
Enlightened Women
provides a clear and concise overview of postmodernism and French feminist thought; at the same time it argues,against received opinion, for a partial return to modernist values.
 
Alison Assiter
is Head of Social Studies at the University of Luton. She isthe author of 
Althusser and Feminism
and
Pornography, Feminism and theIndividual 
as well as co-editor of 
Bad Girls, Dirty Pictures
.
ii

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