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6 septembre 2014

In Defense of Theory

By . Is gender theory relevant to undergraduate students? Skeptics have long dismissed theory’s intellectual import largely on the basis of style. In the 90s, Gayatri Spivak, Judith Butler, and Homi Bhabha were scrutinized for their “pretentiously opaque” prose, “bad writing,” and “indecipherable jargon” respectively. Of course not all scholars are equally subject to these sorts of critiques. As Butler noted in her response, “The targets … have been restricted to scholars on the left whose work focuses on topics like sexuality, race, nationalism and the workings of capitalism.” Refuting similar critiques in regard to queer theory, Michael Warner has recently asserted that “the attack on difficult style has often been a means to reassert the very standards of common sense that queer theory rightly challenged.” More...

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