Summary of the essay can the subaltern speak by spivak

If so, to what languages? I am glad the book helped. Hi, Muhammad. I believe the best way to contact Professor Spivak is from her contact information on her faculty page at Columbia University. Sir I have sent e mail to gcspiv gmail about my urdu translations of gayatri spivak 22 days ago. I need her appriciation upon this work for my motivations and interests. I am a fresh MA literature student. Can anybody help me out on the stand point that Spivak is a theorist and what is the theory she exactly propogated.

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Post-Colonial Critic Despite her outsider status — or partly, perhaps, because of it — Spivak is widely cited in a range of disciplines. Major Publications Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Harvard University Press, Cambridge: Harvard UP, Marxism and the interpretation of Culture. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, Death of a Discipline.

New York, Columbia University Press, Bloomington: Indiana UP, London: Methuen, Outside In the Teaching Machine. London: Routledge, Selected Subaltern Studies. The Spivak Reader. Donna Landry and Gerald MacLean. Sarah Harasym. New York and London: Routledge, Landry and MacLean. Partition: Oral Histories May 2, Chatterjee, Partha November 20, While acknowledging the accuracy of historical accounts of injustices meted against the Indian subalterns and the third world by extension, Spivak notes that such outside attempts to "speak for" the subalterns and the third world actually re-inscribes and cements the traditional imperialistic notion of their dependence on the west.

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History Workshop Journal

By my life, Dulna, by my life. Nothing must be told. The inner sources upon which she draws throughout her ordeal include her gender identity, of course.

38. Theories Lecture: Gayatri Spivak's "Can the Subaltern Speak?"

But they also include a steely courage, a sense of obligation to the sacrifices of others, and an unshakable commitment not to endanger the lives of other comrades — all of which come from her political conviction as a revolutionary, and all of which Spivak sweeps aside with the back of her hand. Her subjectivity is affirmed when she steps forth and expresses awareness of her subjugation specifically as a woman — when the brutalization is to her body. Spivak denies her this when Draupadi rejects her brutalization as a class subject and joins in with her comrades to overturn that class hierarchy.

Why not? Why is she assumed to be a passive follower of commands when she is in the company of men, instead of a political actor fully aware of the imperatives behind her choices? Surely a feminist reading of the text might at least allow for the possibility that she proceeds with an understanding of her interests when she takes up arms against the landlord armies of Eastern India, no less than when she taunts Senanayak while in captivity?

What is admired is her act as an individual, not her willing and conscious participation in a revolutionary movement — and not just as an individual but as a woman.

Silencing the Subaltern: Resistance and Gender in Postcolonial Theory

Whereas socialism privileges the politics of class, Bhabha seeks to restore the salience of other interests and identities inevitably ignored under the singular weight of economic issues. The strike was another instance in which working-class men crafted their strategy to defend not only their economic interests but also their dominant position in the gender order. In other words, it was a demonstration of how one set of interests was promoted at the expense of another. But as it happened, it became the occasion for a dramatic overturning of the very patriarchal order that the men were trying to sustain.

The men relied on the fact that their women would internalize their framing of the issues and fall into line. It finds order only by erasing or suppressing all the myriad complexities that constitute the social world. This complexity goes down to the level of the individual.


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  • A Macat Analysis of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's Can the Subaltern Speak?!
  • Hence, for women in the mining towns, the strike opened up both a dilemma and an opportunity. They were also gendered subjects, and both identities coexisted. Which of her identities is the one that determines her political choices? It is the more radical thesis that the very idea of fixed identities or objective interests is mistaken.

    Bhabha therefore describes the effects of the struggle in a very particular manner. Bhabha never describes it.

    Can the Subaltern Speak Summary

    It remains unnamed and unspecified, but he is quite clear about the notion that, upon emerging from and rejecting their class identities, the women of the mining towns moved on to a new form of social identification that could be described neither as class nor gender. Bhabha illustrates his argument by drawing on an article written by Beatrix Campbell for the Guardian at the one-year anniversary of the strike. The interviews are supposed to have illustrated how the women were initially divided by their two identities, but then, though the course of the strike, transcended both to create a new gestalt.

    All of the women interviewed do recall a transformation in their perspectives, if not their lives, as a consequence of their experience in the struggle. Gendered conventions were denaturalized for all of them in varying degrees. Yet not one of the women Campbell interviews viewed their gendered identity to be in conflict with their class identity. These working-class women accepted the logic of the strike, the inherent class contradiction that it embodied, without any hesitation.

    They all seemed to have viewed the attack on the miners as an attack on them no less than on their husbands; they all looked back at the strike with admiration and even nostalgia. Campbell describes the experience of Margaret Storr, to whom the experience of the strike opened up an entirely new life even as she continued with her old roles. A housewife and mother of four, the strike transformed her marriage. After some hesitation, she participated in the strike support efforts, and also joined her husband on the picket line. Our marriage is a lot happier since, because we talk and we say what we feel.

    But I never took a Valium during the strike and I have never taken a tablet since. It gave me strength. Campbell then turns to Margaret Dransfield, who, unlike Storr, had been politically active all her life. The strike nonetheless transformed her consciousness in complex ways. She realized that she had absorbed most of her political beliefs passively, but after her experience in the struggle, became more independent in her judgment.

    Crucially, she has no regrets; to the contrary, she credits those days with giving her the confidence to strike out on her own. It was the strike that gave us the confidence to go. Campell asks. They were able to say what they actually felt. The women overturned the norms of the patriarchal order, no doubt, but none of them questioned the importance of their class interests, nor of the identities attached to the latter. The strike triggered a restructuring of gender codes, but it simultaneously reaffirmed to them their class identities.

    The women grew into and embraced their interests with respect to gender, but did so while continuing to embrace their class solidarity. It was not something they grew out of or left behind.

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    To the contrary, it was something they saw as a necessary part of their emancipation and, further, an engagement of which they remained proud. Even the women who left their husbands seemed aware of the necessity of the class response to Thatcher. The women saw their class interests and identities as real because Margaret Thatcher was kind enough to draw their attention to them. To the men and women in the mining communities, the intent behind the assault was quite clear — to break one of the most powerful unions in the country.

    All of the women interviewed by Campbell show a clear awareness of this as the animating issue, and none of them place their emancipation from gender constraints in opposition to it.

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    Even more, he describes it in essentially cultural terms — as a battle to defend the traditions of the working class — rather than the terms in which the women themselves viewed it, which revolved around their very real interests as women and as miners. Of course, there were many women whose experience of the strike would have been very different from that of the women Campbell interviewed. For many, the strike would surely trigger painful and even negative memories, and it would not be difficult to find women who regretted their participation in it or whose subordination in the home continued or even intensified.

    Perhaps they would even blame the strike and the traditional mining culture for this outcome. Political conflicts never settle evenly upon individual lives and the forces that they unleash are often more brutal than the circumstances that give rise to them. The point, rather, is that Bhabha thinks that it does — or at least, that his distorted interpretation of it does. His view not only denies the possibility that the class interests of the women were real — every bit as real as their gender interests — but also the possibility that the women might be aware of this and uphold the sanctity of both.

    In both instances, women are taken seriously as political actors only on the condition that they keep their goals confined to gender issues. Even more, when the subjects of these texts express a political consciousness broader than the one assigned to them by these theorists, this consciousness is either dismissed as manipulation Spivak or simply ignored Bhabha.


    • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak;
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    • But the leash remains tight. There is something eminently praiseworthy about a theoretical framework setting out to recover the agency of the oppressed, to recognize instances and forms of resistance that so often are buried under the weight of posterity. To the extent that postcolonial theory has contributed to this enterprise, it is to be lauded and its insights upheld.

      Guha, Spivak, and others are entirely correct to insist upon the salience of the local as a site of contestation, and to insist that any political theory worth its salt has to be able to connect to the quotidian struggles that extend beyond the economic realm.

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