Open Call: Gayatri Spivak Blog Event

Jon from Long Sunday is planning an innovative cross-blog discussion of Gayatri Spivak's work for the week of April 17-23.

It's an open call, and I want to extend the invitation especially to readers and fellow bloggers interested in postcolonial literature & theory, feminism, and South Asian politics and culture. The current participants are mainly "theorists" (and theoretical anti-theorists like our friend John Holbo), and it seems like it would be important to have some input from people who have some of the thematic interests I mentioned in the mix as well. Spivak means something different if your interest is tribal/aboriginal rights in Bihar or the Uniform Civil Code, rather than the Labor Theory of Value... if you know what I mean.

Several major Spivak essays are being made available online for the event (go to Jon's site), which are to form the core of the discussion. But I suspect any encounters with Spivak (positive or negative) would only enliven this unusual event.

Note:: If there are any readers who don't have their own blogs, I am always happy to volunteer my own blog space as a venue for guest posts. Please email me if you'd like to participate that way -- all you'll have to do is send me your work via email and tell me how you'd like it presented. (From correspondence I've gotten in recent months and various encounters at conferences, I know there are a significant number of academic readers lurking out there... )

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For my own take on Spivak, hm. I referenced her concept of 'catachresis' positively in a post on Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake from some time ago. But I've also hinted strongly at my frustration with Spivak's style of writing and intellectual idiosyncrasies in this long post from last summer.

I think it might be time to try some new approaches and say some new things: I'm hoping to write a post called "Spivak in Plain English" for the event. Stay tuned!


Jon said...

Thanks for this, and let me second the invitation.

Those interested should please drop me a note in the comments here, so we can track all the various elements in this "blogweave."

sepoy said...

Will the bloggers be wearing my special spivak shirt? I can put it on discount for the event ;)

Aswin said...

As he writes his "Spivak in Plain English," I think Amardeep should sport a t-shirt that says "Can the Subaltern Spivak?"

electrostani said...

Hm, I'm actually pretty tempted to get one of Sepoy's "The Subaltern Speaks" t-shirts!

Hey Sepoy, if you're reading this, any interest in participating? Aswin, I gather you're an academic too... kya khayal hai?

sepoy said...

Ma'af karna, Amardeep, but my geneology [and the fact that some of friends are spivakies] precludes any public comments.

.... maybe.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Amardeep, this is a great idea - can't wait to read the blog discussions. I'm sending this to all my friends (okay, my one friend who'll be equally interested).

Prachi said...

sepoy, what yaar, plugging merchandise here on such an intellectual project! amardeep, i am looking forward to reading the blog posts on spivak, but I just wanted to say, read the "long post from last summer" you linked to and really enjoyed it.

Qalandar said...

I for one am grateful sepoy is plugging this particular bit of merchandise...wasn't aware of it

sepoy said...

a mere bazaari, this poor subaltern...so, back off desiknitter. and buy my wares.

Anonymous said...

"I'm hoping to write a post called "Spivak in Plain English" for the event."
Very exciting- I'm looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

this spivak carnival sounds like great fun and i am keen to read when it all comes out. if the quality even approaches that of your above linked piece from the valve, amardeep, then we are in for a treat.

i must say though, i hope nobody *really* thinks they can render spivak into 'plain english' (whatever that is) and retain the full range of meaning in her writing. not to imply a perfect analogy, but i think it is relevant to keep in mind that nobody ever told mirza ghalib to write in 'plain urdu'.

electrostani said...


No, actually I was kind of conceiving of a play on words involving the word "English." You can probably figure it out in advance... otherwise, wait til next week!

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Spivak essays are great. I wish there was one on
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