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.
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
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
Felski is at her inquisitive, clear-sighted best in Doing Time. Impelled by a scepticism that is at once bracing and generous, this is a work of sanity, tenderness, and hope.
Steven Connor,Birkbeck College, London
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.
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
A reasoned, common sensical approach to thorny postmodern philosophical and political dilemmas.
Modern Fiction Studies