This ‘insistence on the ambiguous nature of the border which constitutes differences’ is identified elsewhere by Yeatman (1994:17) as an aspect of the ‘epistemological politics of a postmodern feminism’. As she explains, postmodern feminist models of differentiation dispense with ‘binary hierarchical models of differentiation’ and ‘substitute multiple hierarchies of differentiation’ (ibid.) around race, ethnicity, gender and class. She sees feminist and post-colonial intellectuals as playing a crucial role in the process of change in the academy in their critique of epistemological foundationalism. Yeatman (1994:30) asserts that feminist and post-colonial intellectuals refuse to be assimilated into the mainstream and ‘place themselves in a contestatory relationship to the authority of modern foundationalist science’. They are strategically placed for establishing a range of ‘sites of resistance’ and ‘sites of opposition’ within the academy. As Yeatman (1994:31) contends, ‘Theirs is a narrative which is ordered by metaphors of struggle, contest, forced closure, strategic interventions and contingent opening of public spaces for epistemological politics.’


The challenge to the epistemological foundationalism of the academy through ‘the politics of difference’ is a challenge to the representational politics of the academy. As Yeatman (1994:32) notes, ‘By disrupting the we-ness of the community of knowers and locating all knowledge claims within the politics of contested domination, the epistemological force of the politics of difference is to refuse any vantage point for knowledge outside or beyond this field of contested domination.’