Over the past three decades, feminist scholars have rocked the foundation of academia by challenging long established beliefs, contesting dominant research paradigms, and identifying new strategies of analysis. How are we to understand these feminist interventions? Do they capture a truth about race and gender that mainstream scholarship has missed? Do they provide important insights into the politics of knowledge? How do feminist uses of traditional research methods differ from their deployment by nonfeminist scholars? What is distinctive and innovative about feminist research? "Feminist Inquiry" provides scholars and students with a comprehensive guide to methodological issues within feminist scholarship. Mary Hawkesworth presents lucid introductions to key philosophical debates about the nature of knowledge, an original account of feminist scholarship's contributions to these debates, and a sophisticated assessment of the analytical tools that feminist scholars have created to improve understandings of the world. Drawing upon contentious debates concerning the incidence of rape, public support for reproductive rights, affirmative action, and welfare reform, Hawkesworth demonstrates how seemingly abstract questions about the nature of knowledge have palpable effects on the lives of contemporary women and men. "Feminist Inquiry" makes epistemological debates - previously the exclusive preserve of philosophers - accessible to a wider audience, and demonstrates the practical and academic importance of these issues.