Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

Monday 31. October – Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts



ABSTRACT: Collectivity and Borderlessness

The only borderless thing is supposed to be capital, but it is managed so that borders remain important. One of the main bulwarks of finance capital is trade in foreign exchange, a combination of borders and heliocentric time. Borders are also created by the world’s wealth of languages. Borders are the first thing that the psyche perceives – before propriation into subjectship; indeed, for propriation into subjectship any product of collectivity must learn borders and know how to attend to them, negotiate them.

This complicates an unexamined view of nationalisms and globality.

Collectivity is undermined by class and almost universal class apartheid in education. These issues will be considered in detail in my presentation.


Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is University Professor and Founder of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University.  She was educated at the University of Calcutta, and came to Cornell University in 1961 to finish doctoral work.  Her books are Myself Must I Remake (1974), In Other Worlds (1987), The Post-Colonial Critic (1988), Outside in the Teaching Machine (1993), A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (1999), Death of a Discipline (2003), Other Asias (2008), An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (2012), and Readings (2014).  She has translated Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology (1976; the 40th anniversary edition, re-translated with an added Afterword, has caused considerable controversy within the discipline) and Mahasweta Devi’s Imaginary Maps (1994), Breast Stories (1997), Old Women (1999), and Chotti Munda and his Arrow (2002).  She has received honorary doctorates from the Universities of Toronto, London, Rovira I Virgili, Rabindra Bharati, San Martín, St. Andrews, Vincennes à Saint-Denis, Yale, Ghana-Legon, Chile, Presidency University, and Oberlin College. She is active in the International Women’s Movement, the struggle for ecological justice, and rural education. Her influence has been felt in Art and Architecture, Law and Political Science, in curatorial practices. She works for Humanities education as the best lasting weapon to combat contemporary disaster.



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