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The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues Paperback – 19 Jul 1990

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"A set of interviews that render Spivak's thought more accessible, "The Post-Colonial Critic could be considered a primer on constructing positionalities."-"College Literature

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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The Role of the Intellectual 17 July 2008
By Luca Graziuso and Marina Ross - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having reluctantly read some of the crude reviews on this gem I could not pass adding my two cents. This is one of those books one must read constantly so as to remind oneself what it means to be an intellectual. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is never pretentious, eloquent beyond belief, nimble and erudite in her intimations of postcolonialism, feminism, postmodernism, multilingualism, politico-theoretical positionsings, materialism, and cultural criticism in general. However the most outstanding force of this collection of interviews, spanning five years in range, is the definition that surfaces on what it means to be an intellectual within an institutional establishment; Acknowledging that we all speak form a specific perspective, ideological assumption and subjectivity, Spivak articulates what is the pedagogical responsibility of an intellectual, and how and why. Spivak, most notably remembered for her redoubtable translation to Derrida's Grammatology is a tireless, humble cultural critic that believes intellectuals do have a place and a fearless call of responsibility. All the talk about postmodern ethics being a paradox and a paralysis of the philosopher's trade is here left standing with no credit whatsoever. Spivak never oversimplifies the theoretical presence and is always attentive to the deconstructive fallacy of being an edifying mouthpiece to the discourse that produces the intellectual milieu in the first place.
Since the advent of postmodernism, with the mantra to "enjoy your symptoms", whenever a critic seems to indulge in a materialist reading of historical narratives, or adopt a political strategy wherein to extract such a context, s/he is charged with ideological bias, as if in denial of the relativism that academic freedom deliberates. Spivak is not Chomsky or Baudrillard. We find in her interlocutions, while responding to Elizabeth Grosz, Sarah Harasym, and Harold Veeser among others, a vocie that is aware of the pitfalls postmodernism posits, and the dangers a politico-theoretical renunciation announces. The space she works within is the domain where theory and practice collide. Her notions of representation, and the myriad structures of violence that we must "negotiate" within a given institution, and more affectedly within the academic realm, are timeless. She is like no other (save possibly the late Edward Said) able to expound such a tangled web while never pretending to have a voice that is universal. In fact she will argue that the claim to a neutral dialogue "denies history, denies structure, denies the positioning of subjects. One must learn to read how desire for neutrality, or desire for the Other articulates itself". Spivak shows us why being an intellectual is a responsibility that cannot be taken too lightly. Any pedagogue (as in a teacher) or writer, or socially engaged agent MUST read these interviews at least once a year. There is too much to learn from these. The fact that they are dialogues is of paramount importance. The fact that there isn't an extensive introduction before each interview is done by design. Some have claimed that this is a book thrown together. Routledge for all their faults does not throw a book together. Its editor Sarah Harasym does not do anything hastily.
What is the role of the academic institution? Not since Gramsci do we have as engaged a speaker who invites us to the dialogue while being intent on truly listening.
and it is amazing. But it is probably one of the hardest ... 3 May 2014
By Nacho Daddy - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I guess this is the "easiest" Spivak to read. That is what I have been told at least. I am still trying to finish this one, and it is amazing. But it is probably one of the hardest books I have ever read. Even while speaking, Spivak is saying so much! Totally recommended, but if you aren't a super academic, be prepared to go really really slow.
Easy to read and very informative 24 Jun. 2014
By N. Zaragoci - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was very satisfied with the book. It contains most of what one needs to know about Spivak's views.As 'dialogues', the reader feels invited to participate in the discussion, unlike reading a heavily-worded text.
1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 10 Dec. 2002
By Dr D Anand - Published on
Format: Paperback
Amazing book! Very interesting and thought provoking.
4 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Of the making of books there is no end. 30 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Thrown together. Page after page of sprawl. The publisher must have a low opinion of the customer to offer this.
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