On 20 December the Nicos Poulantzas Institute, will host in Athens an event with the distinguished academic Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak as central speaker. She will give the 6th Annual Lecture in memory of Nicos Poulantzas, titled: “Europe and the Bull Market”. The event will be organized in cooperation with transform! europe.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak was born on 24 February 1942 in Calcutta, India. After completing her school education in the St. John’s Diocesan Girls’ Higher Secondary School, she received an undergraduate degree in English at the Presidency College under the University of Calcutta (1959), graduating with first class honours and receiving gold medals for English and Bengali literature. After this, she attended Cornell University, USA, where she completed her M.A. in English and pursued her Ph.D. in comparative literature, while teaching at the University of Iowa. In March 2007 G. Spivak became University Professor at Columbia University, making her the only Indian woman to be bestowed the University’s highest honour in its 264-year history. In June 2012, she was awarded the Kyoto Prize for arts and philosophy.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is a world renowned critical theorist whose work has been particularly influential to the field of post-colonialism, for which she is often referred to as having been a pioneer. She is best known for her contemporary cultural and critical theories to challenge the “legacy of colonialism” and the way readers engage with literature and culture. She often focuses on the cultural texts of those who are marginalized by dominant western culture: the new immigrant, the working class and women. Her research interests focus on feminism, Marxism, deconstruction and globalization. She challenges ideas such as that the “West is more democratic, civilized and so ultimately more developed than the rest of the world”, or that “the current post-colonial time is more progressive than earlier historical periods”.
Her views are loosely associated with those of the Subaltern Studies Collective, a group of Marxist intellectuals based in India, Britain, and the United States, who is interested in the histories of the unrepresented masses. Often given the label “Marxist, feminist, deconstructionist”, Spivak is anything but single-minded. Her continually evolving work spans multiple disciplines and bridges the gap between academia and activism.
She is credited with pioneering feminist and post-colonial studies within global academia, beginning with her 1976 translation of Jacques Derrida’s De la grammatologie. In 1985, she published the essay Can the Subaltern speak?, about the classes that live at a distance from social mobility, considered a founding text of post-colonialism. She has been the author and translator of more than 17 books including: A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics, Outside in the Teaching Machine, Death of a Discipline, Other Asias, and An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization.
Since 1986 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has also been an active supporter of rural education, as well as socio-ecological movements, both through her theoretical research but also by being a philanthropist. She has had a life of civic engagement, focused especially on international women’s movements and rural education in India. She founded the Pares Chandra and Sivani Chakravorty Memorial Literacy Project in 1997 to support her efforts, to train teachers for primary education for children in rural India. The project currently operates schools in rural areas of West Bengal, in India. In 2012 she has donated the money from her Kyoto Prize for lifetime achievement in arts and philosophy, to continue funding the project.
The Lecture will be given at 7:00 pm in the hall of Goethe Institute