Feminist Contentions

A Philosophical Exchange (Thinking gender)

Paperback, 176 pages

English language

Published April 5, 1995 by Routledge.

OCLC Number:

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3 stars (2 reviews)

This unique volume presents a debate between four of the top feminist theorists in the United States today. Seyla Benhabib, Judith Butler, Drucilla Cornell and Nancy Fraser discuss some of the key questions facing feminist theory. Each articulates her own position in an initial essay, then responds to the others in a follow-up essay, making possible a conversation between these influential feminist thinkers. Begun as a symposium on the issue of feminism and postmodernism, the volume evolved into a discussion of broader issues such as the usefulness of postmodernism as a theoretical concept; the role of philosophy in social criticism; how historical narrative is best conceptualized; the status of the subject of feminism; and the political effects of different formulations of all these issues. Unlike many collections which assume a given topic and ask various thinkers to respond to it, this format enables the contributors themselves to articulate their own …

1 edition

Review of 'Feminist Contentions' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

Geht generell darum, was kann der Feminismus mit der Postmoderne anfangen. Aber mehr als ,,Kritik braucht feste Kriterien"(Benhabib), ,,Wir müssen die Kriterien der Kritik selber hinterfragen"(Butler) ,,Phallusse!" (Cornell) und ,,Wir müssen das alles pragmatisch angehen"(Fraser) konnte ich nicht daraus mitnehmen. Die Texte sind unglaublich schwer lesbar, nahezu rätselhaft, v.a. von Cornell.

Review of 'Feminist Contentions' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

Interesting structure where four theorists give papers on the overlap between feminism and postmodernism, then respond to one another through criticism and adaptation of theories. Some excellent presentation on the difficulties of retaining a 'female' perspective in a society where identity is individualistic; competing opinions from psychology (Cornell) to philosophy (Butler) to social theory (Benhabib) that come together in the chapters of criticism. Difficult to read (some jargon, and some heavy theory) but worth the time.


  • Feminism
  • Postmodernism
  • Philosophy