Tracing Subalterns

Gayatri's Spivak's tracing of the 'subaltern' in her work, left me oddly inspired by the imagery of teaching literature and philosophy to adivasi kids, as well as troubled by the landscapedness of the 'subaltern'. The 'subaltern' seems to exist is her supple other-worldly wisdoms and pragmatics, while Spivak travels back and forth between her friends in Columbia and back-of-beyond. What does one make of the inerasability of the heiroglyphics of 'subalternity' of the foreheads of such nameless pretty people, who mediate an outer world through Spivak? Is Spivak's project lost if the 'subaltern' drinks Coke or moves to Bombay to make it big in the movies, or to Thailand to become a prostitute. Spivak's powerful thoughts on the need to eject thought from its Western jacket and take it and map it wherever else one might want to, leaves room for contradiction in her own account of taking thought to the subaltern and absorbing their thoughts. While Western thought is set free of its Kantian capsule, the subaltern must necessarily remain contained in her landscape and culture and lifeworld in order for Spivak to make her argument.

If the subaltern desires direct intercourse with the sullied modern, then her pristine Other consciousness is no longer available for Spivak's argument. The subaltern must necessarily remain an adivasi, and not start a hair-dressing salon in Calcutta in order that her consciousness can be contrasted with European institutionalised knowledge in all its pristine-ness.


I don't really understand all the big words.
Do you in any way think that the lady wants some of the beneficiary group to remain under-privileged, so that she retains a certain purpose in life?

anglophilicbong said…
I dont either:) which is why it's fun to throw them around. But Spivak is not taking an activist stance, she was saying their consciousness is compeltely divorced from the Western orgnaised knwoledges, I think that's a tad bit contrived.

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