Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan

Second Advisor

Lee R. Edwards

Third Advisor

Margo Culley

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


This is an investigation into the ways that postmodern theories and feminist theories have both failed to learn from each other and yet also reveal the blindness' implicit in each other. Postmodern theory has consistently failed to engage gender in any significant way and feminist theory has consisted failed to find the usefulness of the methods and questions posed by postmodern theorists. Both approaches have failed to address the very real and important perspectives of the post colonial others who have been addressing the questions of race, gender, history, and agency for hundred of years. The second half of this investigation looks specifically at the work of three African American women writers, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor and Gayle Jones, in their most recent work. All three novels, Beloved, Mama Day and Corregidora are historical novels concerned with the legacy of slavery, and these narratives themselves exceed all the expectation for postmodern theory and feminist theory in inviting us to understand the relationship between history, memory and the now. In effect the work of these writers succeeds in "theorizing the present" in ways that both feminism and postmodernism fail.