Quebec Studies

Symposium Feminism and Postmodernism in Quebec: the Politics of the Alliance

Quebec Studies (1989), 9, (1), 131–150.

Abstract

Québec Studies, No. 9, 1989/90 SYMPOSIUM FEMINISM AND POSTMODERNISM IN QUEBEC: THE POLITICS OF THE ALLIANCE Karen Gould: Introduction In a panel convened at the October 1988 meeting of the American Council for Québec Studies in Quebec City, Barbara Godard of York University, Sherry Simon of Concordia University, and Patricia Smart of Carleton Univer­ sity shared their thoughts on the uneasy alliance of feminism and postmodernism in contemporary Quebec culture and writing. Their remarks addressed the frames of reference and intersections as well as the incompatibilities of feminism and postmodernism, particularly with respect to recent literary production in Quebec and to the critical theory frequently used to discuss it. While their respective approaches to the topic differ considerably, all have found it necessary to move the theoretical grounds of the discussion beyond the confines of Quebec in an effort to identify and assess the significance of European and American influen­ ces in this debate as well. Along with the growing body of critical theory to which Professor Godard, in particular, refers, the following reflections on feminist and post­ modernist writing in Quebec and elsewhere clarify what is at stake when exami­ ning the politics, aesthetics, and techniques of these two important currents in contemporary artistic expression. Barbara Godard Re: post I. 1 At stake here is the post. In the beginning was the post. POSTmodernlSMS. Is this written as one word? As two? Is it a slash separating them or a hyphen joining them? Is this a permanent post, or just a relay where one waits to be posted elsewhere? If one waits too long, will one become an imposter? Guilty.of an imposture, one should hide one's face so as not to be identified from the image on the poster. But if one is sent forward, will one arrive in time? Will one's name be posted in the book so that posterity will know one held that position? If one takes it up, will it be to develop a pro-position, or an ex-position? Strike a pose or posit a hypothesis? Should it be post as ultra or post as anti? Or post-erior? Post-modernism and feminism? Post-modernism and post-feminism? 2 The possibilities of the post are multiple, and it is to ex-pose the instability of the terms in question—the syllepsis—that I play word games. So diverse are the usages of the label postmoderTi and so varied its relationship with the modern

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