Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India 119 (12):695-6 (2014)

Swami Narasimhananda
Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama, Kozhikode
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak asked a question in 1988: ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ That question was the expression of a lifetime of observation of the marginalised and witnessing of attempts to civilise the ‘aborigine’. Eventually, this question led to A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present (CPR) in 1999. A seminal work, this book unsettled and reoriented the thoughts of scholars, brought up new questions and insights, and the very construct of civilisation and culture was challenged. In 2000 a group of scholars, of whom many were Gayatri’s students—the first name of the celebrated thinker is being used in this review in keeping with her radical spirit—came together as a panel in the annual meeting of the International Association for Philosophy and Literature at Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York, to deliberate on CPR. The panel discussions were engaging and elicited extraordinary response. This encouraged the publication of the proceedings as a special symposium in 2002 in the journal Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. The present book is a result of further working on these proceedings for more than a decade.
Keywords Postcolonialism  India  Spivak
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