In Other Worlds Essays In Cultural Politics Pdf Writer
In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics3.85 · Rating details · 274 Ratings · 7 Reviews
In this classic work, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, one of the leading and most influential cultural theorists working today, analyzes the relationship between language, women and culture in both Western and non-Western contexts. Developing an original integration of powerful contemporary methodologies - deconstruction, Marxism and feminism - Spivak turns this new model on mIn this classic work, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, one of the leading and most influential cultural theorists working today, analyzes the relationship between language, women and culture in both Western and non-Western contexts. Developing an original integration of powerful contemporary methodologies - deconstruction, Marxism and feminism - Spivak turns this new model on major debates in the study of literature and culture, thus ensuring that In Other Worlds has become a valuable tool for studying our own and other worlds of culture....more
Paperback, 442 pages
Published May 25th 2006 by Routledge (first published 1987)
In Other Worlds: Essays in CulturalPolitics Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Routledge; 309 pp.; $12.95 (paper) Gayatri Spivak ends her book with a theatrical metaphor: I hope these pages have made clear that, in the mise-en-scene where the text persistently rehearses itself, writer and reader are both upstaged. If the teacher clandestinely carves out a piece of acdon by using the text as a tool, it is only in celebration of the text's apartness (itre-d-l'dcart).Paradoxically, this apartness makes the text susceptible to a history larger than that of the writer, reader, teacher. In that scene of writing, the authority of the author, however seductively down-to-earth, must be content to stand in the wings. The theatre functions here as the exemplary process in which authority and hierarchy are physically inscribed. Who gets "upstaged" and who gets "a piece of the action" are Spivak's central concerns throughout In Other Worlds. An avowed "feminist, Marxist deconstructivist," Spivak (who translated Derrida's Of Grammatology) eschews the humanist notion of the sovereign subject. As Colin MacCabe writes in his foreword, the book "does not merely state that we are formed in constitutive contradictions and that our identities are the effects of heterogenous signifying practices: its analyses start from and work towards contradiction and heterogeneity." The fourteen essays and literary translations are divided into three progressively expansive sections. In the first of these, "Literature," Spivak develops readings of Coleridge, Dante, Woolf, and Wordsworth, calling into question the ideal of neutral and disinterested criticism. The last essay in this section, "Feminism and Critical Theory," sets forth her suspicion of essentialism and her aim to "investigate the hidden ethico-political agenda of differentiations constitutive of knowledge and judgement." With "Into the World," the second part, Spivak takes the inevitable step from literary text to social text: Here I must stress that I am also not interested in answers to questions like "What is the nature of the aesthetic?" or "How indeed are we to understand 'life'?" My concern rather is that: 1) The formulation of such questions is itself a determined and determining gesture. 2) Very generally speaking, literary people are still 238 caught within a position where they must say: Life is brute fact and outside art; the aesthetic is free and transcends life. 3) This declaration is the condition and effect of "ideology." 4) If "literary studies" is to have any meaning in the coming decade, its ideology might have to be questioned. In Part Three, "Entering the Third World," Spivak examines the colonialist politics of Third World studies through analyses of two short stories by Mahasweta Devi and of work by the Subaltern Studies Group. This elegant movement outward accrues its own force of argument. Each piece builds on the last, developing the book's themes across essays as well as within them. By the end, Spivak has persuasively demonstrated that the literary text and the social text are intermingled; that all acts of criticism, history-writing, and teaching are political; and, finally, that First World critics, historians, and teachers tend to be entrenched in a benignly colonialist ideology that homogenizes Third World literature and culture. This book is fiercely theoretical, taking up the mind-bending philosophical intricacies of anti-humanism and post-structuralism. Spivak is as capable of extremely abstract, nested analyses as she is of succinctness. And yet the book is far from bloodless. What makes Spivak's thought so engaging is that she herself inhabits a space of contradiction, of irreducible heterogeneity. As an Indian woman teaching English at the University of Pittsburgh, she is a First World feminist writing of Third World women's literature; she is an academic deconstructing the academy; she is a Marxist living in capitalism. Her persistent, passionate deconstruction of the critic/historian/teacher's position as subject and master over the object of study applies to her own analyses as well. This paradox-that we can never fully know our own ideological provenance as we deconstruct the ideological limits of something under study-is central to her book. Spivak's essays span 1977 to 1987. Deconstruction peaked during that time, with the translations of Derrida and his...