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What is postmodernism and why is it important to understand it?

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Postmodernism was the major international movement in several branches of the humanities and social science in the second half of the twentieth century and thus is important as a component of your humanistic studies. Even though it is only one of many possible approaches to humanistic study, due to its ubiquity in fairly recent scholarship, most scholarship currently being published either has been influenced by or reacts against various postmodernism.

In many ways one can more accurately speak of "postmodernisms" than of postmodernism in the singular. Although it can generally be described as a revolt against the rationalism of the Enlightenment and an attempt to destabilize the notion of the subject and of essences, it can manifest itself in both ahistorical reading (deconstruction) and historical reading (new historicism) and as apolitical (ludic postmodernism) and politicised (postmodernist feminism).

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