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Methodology of the Oppressed

2000
Author:

Chela Sandoval
Foreword by Angela Y. Davis

Methodology of the Oppressed

A new approach to feminist thought that challenges current critical theories.

In a work with far-reaching implications, Chela Sandoval does no less than revise the genealogy of theory over the past thirty years, inserting what she terms “U.S. Third World feminism” into the narrative in a way that thoroughly alters our perspective on contemporary culture and subjectivity.

Methodology of the Oppressed represents a major contribution to theory and the understanding of contemporary consciousness. Sandoval has created a cornucopia of terms, concepts, and modes of analysis. Consolidating the work of a remarkable range of scholars, she takes the next step in proposing a genuine alternative to the blind alleys in which existing theory often finds itself.

Mary Louise Pratt, author of Imperial Eyes

In a work with far-reaching implications, Chela Sandoval does no less than revise the genealogy of theory over the past thirty years, inserting what she terms "U.S. Third World feminism" into the narrative in a way that thoroughly alters our perspective on contemporary culture and subjectivity.

What Sandoval has identified is a language, a rhetoric of resistance to postmodern cultural conditions. U.S. liberation movements of the post-World War II era generated specific modes of oppositional consciousness. Out of these emerged a new activity of consciousness and language Sandoval calls the "methodology of the oppressed." This methodology—born of the strains of the cultural and identity struggles that currently mark global exchange—holds out the possibility of a new historical moment, a new citizen-subject, and a new form of alliance consciousness and politics.

Utilizing semiotics and U.S. Third World feminist criticism, Sandoval demonstrates how this methodology mobilizes love as a category of critical analysis. Rendering this approach in all its specifics, Methodology of the Oppressed gives rise to an alternative mode of criticism opening new perspectives on any theoretical, literary, aesthetic, social movement, or psychic expression.

Methodology of the Oppressed

Chela Sandoval is associate professor of critical and cultural theory and Chicano studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Methodology of the Oppressed

Methodology of the Oppressed represents a major contribution to theory and the understanding of contemporary consciousness. Sandoval has created a cornucopia of terms, concepts, and modes of analysis. Consolidating the work of a remarkable range of scholars, she takes the next step in proposing a genuine alternative to the blind alleys in which existing theory often finds itself.

Mary Louise Pratt, author of Imperial Eyes

This book provides us with a series of methods, not only for analyzing texts, but for creating social movements and identities that are capable of speaking to, against, and through power. Emerging scholars who want to link their work to pursuits for social justice will be inspired by the way Chela Sandoval refuses to abandon her belief in the possibility of revolutionary resistance.

Angela Y. Davis, from the foreword

In this brilliantly innovative work, Chela Sandoval demands that intellectuals interested in democratizing power venture into new political, theoretical territories to listen to and participate in conversations heretofore largely inaudible across the borders of subjectivity. Ground-breaking.

American Quarterly

Methodology of the Oppressed poses important challenges to feminism and women’s studies. A convincing and long overdue argument.

Signs

At a time when the unfriendly ghosts of identity politics still haunt the hallways of academia, this book should be considered necessary reading for educators and cultural workers concerned with struggles for social justice in the twenty-first century. Sandoval’s book has originality. Sandoval is succinct in baring the problems of postmodern era while recognizing its enormous contributions as a mode of social thought, and shows us what may lay over the horizon. If this book is an accurate indication of the future of social movements and critical thought, we have reason to be optimistic.

Convergence

Sandoval’s book brilliantly puts into practice the method, theory, and politics that she describes as U.S. Third World feminism and its particular mode of differential consciousness. Methodology of the Oppressed is a tour de force of theoretical genealogies.

Feminist Studies