Spivak is interesting for her attempts to combine Marxism and deconstruction in the name of postcolonial feminism, and at the crossroads of literary studies and philosophy. There are many constituencies she is out to reach–and many, perhaps as a consequence, who take exception to her work.
For a particularly snotty review of Critique of Postcolonial Reason–a work that the reviewer shows few obvious signs of having read–see Terry Eagleton’s “In the Gaudy Supermarket”. The subsequent brouhaha, including a contribution from one Judith Butler, was played out in the letters pages here and here.
Among other things, Eagleton accuses Spivak of “eclecticism,” in the passage from which his review takes its title:
If an abrupt leaping from Jane Eyre to the Asiatic Mode of Production challenges the staider compositional notions of white male scholars, it also has more than a smack of good old American eclecticism about it. In this gaudy, all-licensed supermarket of the mind, any idea can apparently be permutated with any other.
Which, should its adherents wish to ally themselves with Eagleton, could prove grist to the mill of the so-called “higher eclecticism”.
So who’s up for such a reading?
Texts: let me propose “Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value”, from In Other Worlds–an essay to which Negri responds in “Value and Affect”. Or perhaps “Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography” (likewise found in In Other Worlds). Matt is keen on “Ghostwriting” (diacritics 25.2 : 65-84). And the updated “Can the Subaltern Speak?” has also been suggested.
(Supplementary: Keith points us to “The Trajectory of the Subaltern in My Work”, a filmed lecture given at Santa Barbara and now available online. But make some time to watch it: it’s an hour and a half long.)
Dates: either the week of April 17th or the week of the 24th.
Update: we now have a schedule.