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Reading The Silences Within Critical Feminist Theory

Singh, Parlo (1997) Reading The Silences Within Critical Feminist Theory. In Muspratt, Sandy, Luke, Alan, & Freebody, Peter (Eds.) Constructing Critical Literacies: Teaching and Learning Textual Practices. Hampton Press, Cresskill. N.J., pp. 77-94.

Abstract

This paper reviews the literature produced on gender and critical literacy, particularly research which has drawn on Kristeva's (1986) three tier model of women's work to inform critical feminist literacy curriculum. It examines the strengths and limitations (silences) in this literature, and then proposes an alternative reading of Kristeva which draws on the work of postcolonial theorists. A postcolonial interpretation of Kristeva's (1986) theory of how the sign or representation of woman' is constructed enables an analysis of thedifference' within the category woman' not only the relationaldifference' symbolically constructed between man' andwoman'. Kristeva (1986) proposes that in the space of the postmodern nation, such as Australia, symbolic representation in the form of the sign of woman' is constituted in and through three temporal relations. Kristeva's three temporal relations can be described as: (1) Monumental time (eternity), (2) Cyclic time, and (3) Linear or cursive time. From this perspective, the present of women's time (monumental, cyclical and linear) is a zone of representational instability. That is, the representation of women in and through the signwoman' becomes the site of continual challenge and reconstruction. It is from this instability of cultural signification that the literary canon comes to be articulated as a dialectic of various temporalities - modern, colonial, postcolonial, feminist, post feminist, poststructural feminism(s), native', traditional - that cannot be a knowledge that is stablized in enunciation. In this time,woman' does not signify the female body as an a priori historical presence, a discursive object; but a discursive subject constructed in the performance of the narrative.

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ID Code: 2865
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: This is the author’s manuscript version of the work. It is posted here with permission of the copyright owner for your personal use only. No further distribution is permitted. For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: critical literacy, feminist theory, postcolonial theory
ISBN: 1572731036
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1997 Hampton Press
Deposited On: 13 Dec 2005
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 22:29

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