gayatri chakravorty bio

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  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    Lecturing in Glasgow,June 2007

    Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak(born,1942, Calcutta, India) into a middle classfamily.

    Her mother tongue is Bengali.

    1959: First class honours degree in English at the

    University of Calcutta1962: Master's in English from CornellUniversity (US!"1967: #h.$. %n &iterature from CornellUniversity (US! hile teaching at

    University of %oa. Her dissertation as on .B.)eats" titled Myself Must I Remake: The Life andPoetry of W.B. Yeats. t Cornell" she as thesecond oman elected to mem*ershi+ in the,elluride ssociation.

    She as *riefly married to ,al*ot S+iva- in the

    /01s. The Bride Wore the Traditional Gold*y,al*ot S+iva- is an auto*iogra+hical novel thatdeals ith the early years of this marriage.

    She has taught at Bron" ,e2as at ustin" UCSanta Cru3" Universite #aul 4alery" 5aaharlal

    6ehru University" Stanford" University of British

    Colum*ia" 7oethe Universitatin Fran-furt" 8iydah University" and Emory.

    Before coming to Colum*ia in 1991" she as the ndre . Mellon #rofessor of English at theUniversity of #itts*urgh.

    She is on the editorial Board of many 9ournals" among them Cultural Critique, boundary 2. NewFormations, Diaspora, ARIEL, Re-thinking Marxism, Public Culture, Parallax,Interventions.#rofessor S+iva- is active in rural literacy teacher training on the grassroots level in %ndia and


    mong her +u*lications are Of Grammatology (translation ith critical introduction of 5acues$errida's De la grammmatologie! 1976" Imaginary Maps and Breast Stories1997 (translations ith critical material of the fiction Mahaseta $evi!" In other Worlds" The Post-Colonial Critic" Don't Call me Postcolonial: from Kant to Kawakubo (Harvard!//;" and Outside inthe Teaching Machine. A Critique of Postcolonial Reason 1999

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    Gayatri Spivak: 2006

    7lossary of

    idely ac-noledged as the conscience of the

    metro+olitan +olitics of identity.She also +u*lishes and lectures in her native Bengali.

    mong her numerous current +ro9ects is translating forthe definitive edition of the Selected Works ofMahasweta Devi.

    2006: The Spivak Reader." Ed. $onna &andry and7erard Maclean. &ondon: 8outledge.2006


    ,he te2t in Art in Theory" n nthology of

    Changing %deasEdited by: CH8&ES H88%S=6 (=+en University! and #U& ==$(=+en University!

    First edition: ++ /?@A " Second edition: ++ 1/@? 1/0

    Who Claims Alterity?First +rinted in /;/" in Remaking History: DIA ArtFoundation Discussions in Contemporary Culture, No. 4

    As a postcolonial I am concerned withthe appropriation of 'alternative history'

    or 'histories' ...

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    The parents of my parents' grandparents'grandparents were made over, not alwayswithout their consent, by the political,fiscal, and educational intervention ofBritish imperialism, and now I am

    independent. The I am, in the strictistsense, a postcolonial. p. 10!

    " post#olonial$ %y %lood or up%ringing

    &an essentialist notion'(

    ith the conce+t of strategic essentialism" S+iva- attem+ts to +rovide a theoretical

    legitimi3ation for a su*versive +olitical +ractice *ased on essentialism and to have it

    a++roved *y deconstruction" des+ite its theoretical incom+ati*ility ith deconstruction...

    Toni Morrison, Ngahuia Te Awekotukuand Gayatri Spivak, September 2006

    ,he ideal +olitical role of strategic

    essentialism that S+iva- +ro9ects is to

    ena*le o++ressed +eo+le of all -inds D

    nations" ethnic" se2ual and other

    minorities D to +resent themselves and

    +ose +olitical demands" *ut ithout

    e2tinguishing internal differences and

    internal de*ates.%t is to *e used only tem+orarily and only

    for a s+ecific +olitical +ur+ose" *ecause

    otherise there is a danger of a*use"

    nationalisms" totalitarianisms" etc.

    Boris Buden, 2007, Strategic Universalism:Dead Concept WalkingOn the Subalternity of Critique Today,ranslated *y ileen $erieg

    #ostcolonial here % ould argue refers to a (transitory! +articularity or s+ecificality

    rather than an essentialist set of timeless immuta*le +ro+erties.

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio



    I am also a feminist who is an old-fashioned Marxist andsome of that will enter into this discussion of the culturalpolit ics of alternative historiographies +. 1/

    We produce historical narratives and historical

    explanations by transforming the socius, upon which ourproduction is written into more less continuous andcontrollable bits that are readable. How these readingsemerge and which ones get sanctioned have politicalimplications on every possible level. +. 1/

    Of all the tools for developing histories -gender, race,ethnicity, class class is surely the most abstract. ...onemight summarize Marx as saying that the logic of capitalismweaves the socius like the textile of a particular set of

    relationships. Power and validation within it are secured bydenying that web... +. 1/


    ...Marx asks the worker to understand(read?) the coat s/he produces as havingmore signification then it does as itself.Captial is a writ ing, which we must notread merely in terms of producing objectsfor use...

    Reading the archives of capitalism,Marx produces a critique, not of cultural,but of economic politics ....of... politicaleconomism In the current global postcolonialcontext, our model must be a crit ique ofpolitical culture, political culturalism,whose vehicle is the writing of readablehistories, mainstream or alternative.

    +. 1/

    Power is the name that one attributes toa complex strategical situation thesocial relations of production... wheresociety is a shorthand for thedominance of (a) particular mode(s) ofproduction of value.+. 1/A

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    The most useful way to think of value is as something 'contentless and simple'...... the name of what is produced by the human body/mind machine a thing that is notpure form, cannot appear by itself, and is immediately coded... p. or 1094

    ...this coding operation is not merely economic, it can be understood in the fields of

    gendering and colonialism... does not involve allegiance to.. only one means ofreading *e it to modes of production or class-analysis.+. 1/A

    ,he Man Who Flew into Space, by Ilya Kabakov.

    From /;0 he created this installation of +osters"

    *oarded u+ indos" a +arachute" furniture and so

    on in a corner of an a+artment room. ,a-ing this

    don each evening and reconstructing it" not foraesthetic reasons *ut in case it should *e discovered

    *y the authorities.

    ,hat as+ect of the or- is a real +art of its narrative"dare % say 'alternative' narrative or history (the or-

    is no on dis+lay in a museum!" if e thin- of the

    structure of an artor- as *eing focused onaesthetics.

    Yet this counterintuitive thought ofvalue should not make us imagine thatwe can ourselves escape the codesinscribing the real. We are obliged todeal in narratives of history, evenbelieve in them. +. 1/A

    8elating this (also! to Fried's notions of


    real +ro+aganda +osters vs 'o*9ectified'

    +oster images Garhol or +o+ular culture G#o+rt

    real +arachute vs the 'o*9ectified' foundo*9ect G =lden*urg's re+licas of familiar


    real ha+ha3ardness vs the 'o*9ectified' mess

    Grte #overa

    Bac- to her earlier statement: As apostcolonial I am concerned with theappropriation of 'alternative history' or

    'histories' ... +. 1/

    c-noledging a 'realism' of a narrative" hile*eing aare that reading this reuires ta-ing


    'alternative' +ositionIs.

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    Ilya Kabakov, The Man Who Flew Into SpaceFrom His Apartment, 1968-96.

    *+ %uilt the installation The Man Who Flew intoSpace in the #orner$ + glued Soviet posters ,rominside o, it and + would take it down a,ter ea#h

    showing ,or ,ear that they would drop in$

    understand$ and that would %e -the end o,everything.' J %lya

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    Ilya Kabakov, The Man Who Flew Into SpaceFrom His Apartment, 1968-96.

    ...counterintuitive imagings... must begrasped when history is said to beremade, and a rupture is too easilydeclared because of the intuition offreedom that a merely polit ical

    independence brings for a certainclass.Such graspings will enable us to perceivethat neocolonialism is a displacedrepetition of many of the old lines laiddown by colonialism... the diasporicpostcolonial can take advantage... of thetendency to conflate the two... +. 1/A

    The masterwords implicated in Indian decolonization offered four great legitimizingcodes... nationalism, internationalism, secularism, culturalism +. 1/

    The pyrotechnics of the harshly lit Man WhoFlew into Space drew the most attention, in partbecause it looked so Soviet. This man had papered

    S+iva-'s o*9ection to these four conce+t?

    meta+hors is that they are the culture ofimperialsim+. 1/

    and she suggests

    an alternative and perhaps equallyfragile mode of resistance... through astrategic acceptance of the centrifugal

    potential of the plurality and heterogenitynative to the subcontinent. +. 1/L

    Yet heterogenity is an elusive andambivalent resource...scrupulous interventions are in factour only contribution to the project ofremaking history or sustainingevershifting voices with an alternativeedge.

    In a sense our task is to make peopleready to listen, and that is not determinedby argument. +. 1/L

    I propose the persistent establishmentand re-establishment, the repeatedconsolidating in undoing, of a strategy of

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    his walls with Soviet propaganda posters and builta makeshift catapult with which he had apparentlylaunched himself through the ceiling, into thebeyond. All that remained in the room were thebed, the table scattered with drawings, the catapultand an impressive hole in the ceiling from which

    light poured in. The room had been boarded up bythe authorities, as a text panel informed us in themost bureaucratic of languages.

    from Ilya Kaakov !lies into "is #i$ture"

    mei allach rt in merica" 6ov" @111.

    education and classroom pedagogyattending to provisional resolutions ofoppositions as between secular andnonsecular, national and subaltern,national and international, cultural and

    socio/polit ical by teasing out theircomplicity.

    This, strictly, speaking, isde(con)structive pedagogy +. 1/0

    hich &iterary tro+es does S+iva- em+loy for her argumentsK

    ,hese tro+es (figures of s+eech! often associate a heightened sense of the +hysical to

    a*stract terms such as: our +roduction is ritten readings emerge the +rivileged

    su*9ect.... masuerades a ru+ture for the coloni3ed scru+ulous interventions

    #erfect 4ehicles (/;L! *y llan McCollum

    installed in Central #ar-" Manhatten" 6)C." @11A?L

    Even though it is +ossi*le to al- 'in' *eteen the

    o*9ects of McCollum's scul+ture" there is no

    +ossi*ility to actual *e in the or- either literally or+sychologically. ,he s+aces *eteen function as

    negative s+ace or in

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    The toilets 1992,,irst shown at o#umenta 12$now in de S7"8$ Gent.

    9ou are not only physi#ally inside %ut the a#t orsitting or walking through has a,,e#t on the

    aestheti# e4perien#e %e#ause there are no %order

    s %etween o%e#ts. "ll spa#es %etween are part o,the narrative and %e#ause o, this$ +-d argue$ it

    allows ,or alternative readings o, histories. o

    the toilets re,er u#hamp-s urinal$ to our owne4perien#es o, pu%li# toilets( 3o the our ideas o,

    what is a home or home #om,orts(5r to a Soviet

    realli,e living situation( " ,i#tional -,oreign-

    living situation. 5r as an indi#ator o, so#ialstatus.

    %n contrast %lya

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    Detail of Het Archief (The archive) an

    installation by Ilya + Eilia !aba"ov in the

    #te$eli%", Aster$a, 199&'

    elo* #"etch for this or"'

    *3he very same ta%le in your home and

    in the o,,i#e is two di,,erent ta%les.p. 11)6

    *9ou... are #ompletely di,,erent at the

    post o,,i#e or at the market$ in ano,,i#ial esta%lishment or at home: your

    individuality entirely depends on the

    spa#e you ,ind yoursel, in...

    oone loves them...

    p. 11)6)

    *...+ was always un%elieva%ly sensitive

    to other people-s pla#es into whi#h +

    have #onstantly %een thrown sin#e my

    earliest #hildhood

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    Detail of inci$ent $ans le co-loir, $evant la

    c-isine (Inci$ent in the corri$or in front of the

    "itchen) by Ilya !aba"ov 19.9, /alerie $e 0rance,


    7inutiae %y o%ert aus#hen%erg $ 1?.;reestanding #om%ine. 21.6 4 20?.) 4 )). #m &@

    1/2 4 @1 4 !0 1/2 in.'. A.Coll.$ Switerland

    * the

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    +nstallation$ during the 200! Deni#e Biennale

    %y +lya E milia 8a%akov

    *Aainting is like a senile grandmother

    living in a ,amily. She has %een #ray ,or

    a long time$ she urinates and de,e#ates$

    %ut everyone in her own ,amily knows

    how to treat her$ how to talk to her. >oone is surprised at what she does.p. 11)@

    *+t is a #ompletely di,,erent situation

    with installation art$ whi#h is like a little

    girl who has ust %een %ornF she is still

    an in,ant$ and no one knows what she

    will grow into.p. 11)

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    +nstallation$ during the 200! Deni#e

    Biennale %y+lya E milia 8a%akov

    *"s ,as as + #an udge$ the roots o,

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    Boo- of lllustrations from the /;1s.

    milia E +lya 8a%akov$ #. 2000

    +lya 8a%a%ov-s sket#h o, the ussian pavilion

    installation$ The e$ avilion$ ,or the 1! Deni#eBiennale.

    as a highlight in estern art circles.

    %&)(: He moved to the est doing an arts

    residency in 7ra3.

    %&)&*&&: &ived and or-ed in Berlin.

    #articu+ated in many e2hi*itiions throughoutEuro+e.

    %&&+: Moved to 6e )or-. #artici+ated in

    $ocumenta. Married Emilia

  • 8/10/2019 Gayatri Chakravorty Bio


    The e$ avilion$ ,or the 1! Deni#e Biennale.

    By miliaE +lya 8a%a%ov