Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs


Cyrus Cramer

Publication Date



This paper was inspired by my own instruction in philosophy as an undergraduate at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA and by my encounter with Robert Scholes book Textual Power while a graduate student at the University of New Mexico. I wanted to examine a way to bring the more useful aspects of postmodern thought to my classroom practices as a high school language arts teacher and I was dissatisfied by the materials I found available as they seemed too much focused on the ideas espoused by the late Richard Rorty. Rorty's thought leads to relativism so severe that it seems no longer possible or at least no longer meaningful to teach literary interpretation, grammar, and composition. While the explicit statement of this is often avoided by those who distill postmodernism for use by classroom teachers it is an inescapable fact. I argue in this paper that we might save ourselves from this problem by following the thought of the French postmodernist Michel Foucault and therein are to be found the more useful aspects of postmodernism that provide new life rather than a dead end in abject relativism.


Postmodernism and education, Language arts (Secondary), Foucault, Michel, 1926-1984--Criticism and interpretation

Document Type




Degree Name

Secondary Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Advisor

Zancanella, Donald

Second Advisor

Zancanella, Donald

First Committee Member (Chair)

Pence, Lucretia

Second Committee Member

Mitchell, Rosalita