Preface -- Introduction -- The burden of English -- Who claims alterity? -- How to read a "culturally different" book -- The double bind starts to kick in -- Culture: situating feminism -- Teaching for the times -- Acting bits/identity talk -- Supplementing Marxism -- What's left of theory? -- Echo -- Translation as culture -- Translating into English -- Nationalism and the imagination -- Resident alien -- Ethics and politics in Tagore, Coetzee, and certain scenes of teaching -- Imperative (...) to re-imagine the planet -- Reading with Stuart Hall in "pure" literary terms -- Terror: a speech after 9/11 -- Harlem -- Scattered speculations on the subaltern and the popular -- World systems and the creole -- The stakes of world literature -- Rethinking comparativism -- Sign and trace -- Tracing the skin of day. (shrink)
It should not be possible to read nineteenth-century British literature without remembering that imperialism, understood as England’s social mission, was a crucial part of the cultural representation of England to the English. The role of literature in the production of cultural representation should not be ignored. These two obvious “facts” continue to be disregarded in the reading of nineteenth-century British literature. This itself attests to the continuing success of the imperialist project, displaced and dispersed into more modern forms.If these “facts” (...) were remembered, not only in the study of British literature but in the study of the literature of the European colonizing cultures of the great age of imperialism, we would produce a narrative, in literary history, of the “worlding” of what is now called “the Third World.” To consider the Third World as distant cultures, exploited but with rich intact literary heritages waiting to be recovered, interpreted, and curricularized in English translation fosters the emergence of “the Third World” as a signifier that allows us to forget that “worlding,” even as it expands the empire of the literary discipline.1[…]In this essay, I will attempt to examine the operation of the “worlding” of what is today “the Third World” by what has become a cult text of feminism: Jane Eyre.2 I plot the novel’s reach and grasp, and locate its structural motors. I read Wide Sargasso Sea as Jane Eyre’s reinscription and Frankenstein as an analysis—even a deconstruction—of a “worlding” such as Jane Eyre’s.3 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is Longstreet Professor of English at Emory University. She is the translator of Jacques Derrida’s De la grammatologie and is presently finishing a book entitled Master Discourse, Native Informant. Her previous contributions to Critical Inquiry are “ ‘Draupadi’ by Mahasveta Devi” and “The Politics of Interpretations”. (shrink)
A "reading" of archival material on the Rani of Sirmur shows the soldiers and administrators of the East India Company constructing the object of representations that becomes the reality of India. The Rani emerges only when she is needed in the space of imperial production. Caught between the patriarchy of her husband, the Raja of Sirmur, and the imperialism of the British who deposed him, she is in an almost allegorical position. Both patriarchal subj ect- formation and imperialist object-constitution efface (...) the dubious place of the free will of the sexed subject as female. In the cracks between the production of the archives and indigenous patriarchy, today distanced by the waves of hegemonic "feminism," there is no "real Rani" to be found. (shrink)
I have suggested elsewhere that, when we wander out of our own academic and First-World enclosure, we share something like a relationship with Senanayak's doublethink.2 When we speak for ourselves, we urge with conviction: the personal is also political. For the rest of the world's women, the sense of whose personal micrology is difficult for us to acquire, we fall back on a colonialist theory of most efficient information retrieval. We will not be able t speak to the women out (...) there if we depend completely on conferences and anthologies by Western-trained informants. As I see their photographs in women's studies journals or on book jackets, indeed, as I look in the glass, it is Senanayak with his anti-Fascist paperback that I behold. In the inextricably mingling historico-political specificity with the sexual differential in a literary discourse, Mahasveta Devi invites us to begin effacing that image.· 2. See my "Three Feminist Readings: McCullers, Drabble, Habermas," Union Seminary Quarterly Review 1-2 , and "French Feminism in an International Frame."Mahasveta Devi teaches English at Bijaygarh College in Jadavpur, India, an institution for working-class women. She has published over a dozen novels, most recently Chotti Munda ebang Tar Tir, and is a prolific journalist, writing on the struggle of the tribal peasant in West Bengal and Bihar. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. The translator of Derrida's De la grammatologie, she has published essays on Marxist meminism, deconstructive practice, and contemporary literature and is currently completing a book on theory and practice in the humanities. (shrink)
"In this volume, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak engages with 16 photographs by photographer Alice Attie as she attempts telepoiesis, a reaching toward the distant other through the empathetic power of the imagination."-- dust jacket.
This article is an analysis of the ideological production of the idea of cultural pluralism. It points at the impossibility of inhabiting two or more civil societies at once. It points at the fact that culture alive cannot be accessed. It recommends attention to the ungeneralizable huge subaltern populations of the world that often also constitute an electorate. It recommends linguistic rather than cultural pluralism and a nurturing of the understanding of the right to intellectual labor in education practice.
I have always admired the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy for its public commitment to intellectual equality. I will gloss it as a headnote for this article by way of some words from Mary Rawlinson's new book, Just Life: "Critical phenomenology starts from the idea that universality appears in multiplicity and difference. More than one narrative will be necessary to do justice to life. Women's experience is just as much an opportunity for the appearance of the universal as is (...) Man's. Critical phenomenology resists both abstract universalism and cultural relativism."1Let me cite here part of the abstract that I sent ahead of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential... (shrink)
The structure of this intervention is deliberately schizo-analytic: “and then—,” and “then—.” They are preparatory notes for a webinar by Transform! Europe on the COVID, arranged before the global explosion of Black Lives Matter. I question the top-down philanthropy of the bourgeois Left. I take the Rohingyas as bottom-line victims. I speak from two hometowns—Calcutta and New York. I ask the bourgeois Euro-U.S. Left not to monolithize the Global South. Many examples of how “India” is constructed are given. From New (...) York, the United States is declared a failed state. Trump’s delinquencies are mentioned. It is argued that the only remedy at present is human behaviour and the typical U.S. character is not ready to practice this. This empirical fact shows the failure of the Kantian Sublime and reminds us that Kant thinks that the human moral will comes in to protect us from a hugely frightening natural phenomenon only by “subreption,” the same impulse that says that following steps provided by institutional religion will absolve us. Class and caste are taken into consideration throughout. I mention that as a coronavirus convalescent, I am donating plasma regularly. (shrink)