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Gayatri Spivak,

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Claire Orazietti

on 22 October 2014

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Transcript of Gayatri Spivak,

Gayatri Spivak,
"Who Claims Alterity?"

Gayatri Spivak
-Born in 1942, in Calcutta India as Gayatri Chakravorty
-First class honours degree in English at the University of Calcutta. Master's degree in English from Cornell, and PhD in Literature also from Cornell
-Briefly married to Talbot Spivak, kept his Last name
-Has taught at Brown, Austin, UC
Santa Cruz, Universite Paul Valery, Jawaharlal Riydah University, Emory, Nehru University, Stanford, UBC, Goethe Universitat in Frankfurt
-Is a feminist and a Marxis
t
Summary
Spivak includes the "four master words" came out of Imperialistic ruling class were: Nationalism, Internationalism, Secularism and Culturalism.


It is a paper designed to challenge the masculine orthodoxy of history (and alternative history) writing, and the title (as I interpret) asks the question of "who gets to speak on alterity"
Spivak is conern about the appropriation of alternative (or I am going to call altern history as alternative history can refer to something quite different) history in regards to colonized and de-colonized countries

Spivak wants it to be known that her family history was entrenched in colonization and that her ancestors were treated differently because of their alterity. Thus she questions the legitimacy of altern history being written by people who are not altern.


Questions:
Do you think people from colonial powers should even be writing from the perspective of the colonized, or should this be left to the post-colonials of said country?
Is there anything else would you add to the master
words, or the corresponding tools that you think
would better the development of authenticity in
this practice?
Spivak then adds tools that should be considered when people are writing history from the perspective of the altern by including factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, and class. (with class being considered a more abstract concept in this discussion.)
She expresses that it is a problem because the members of the ruling class had far greater privilege than the altern (or those who were different than the colonizers) and might not have a concise understanding of what the life of the altern is like. The problem that arises when you have the Imperial ruling class writing from the perspective of the altern, you can get false representations of what the history of the altern was/is actually like.
by adding these tools, Spivak is essentially trying to give he writers of history a better understanding of alternity and how to write history from the altern perspective more authentically.
Terms
Alterity: A term coming from the Latin word
alter
meaning otherness, or being "the other". Altern is the word to describe one who is considered "the other"
Bourgeoisie: Back from earlier lectures, simply the ruling class, the people who's lives are built to ensure their privilege.
Alternative History: What Spivak means is the history of the Altern, or the Other. Not to be confused with the other "alternative history" which refers to a fictionalized version of history that explores what might be different if an event in history was different.
I used Marx and Engel's "The German Ideology and bell hooks' "feminism a transformational politic" less by making actual references to, but rather by using the ideas from both, such as Marxism and hooks' ideas of domination.

Particularly the idea that anyone can dominate and anyone can be dominated is important to think about here
Full transcript