I confess I was smarting from Aman’s calling my work “simplistic and coarse,” and from his yoking me with Garret Stewart, the author of the nastiest and most dismissive footnote ever to reference *Gendered Interventions*. As I kept reading through Aman’s and then Jim’s statements, though, I was relieved at least that my approach had been spared the rhetoric of lameness that seems to have attached itself to Jim’s (Yes, Jim: who *is* your opponent?).
Our historicist would do well, I think, to attend more closely to the temporal situatedness of the critical text. Taking a look at what the “academic historians” were saying about nineteenth-century gender difference in the mid- to late-1980s would not uncover a much more fine-grained treatment of the subject than you’ll find in *Gendered Interventions*. If my book was not “incredibly nuanced”–and I’m willing to grant it was not–neither were the histories of gender being written at the time.
What we know about history is subject to development. It develops at least in part through the interchange between historicist and formal approaches to texts. What we’ve learned about the social and cultural dimensions of the rhetorical strategies of the past has contributed something to what we know now.
Ah—this particular Smack Down may have been indecisive. But just you wait until one of the Divas shows up to throw her chair into the ring! I can hardly wait to get there.