The Official Blog for ENGL 41416.

In trying to understand “Can the Subaltern Speak?” I tried to answer this question. They cannot.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak talks about the way western cultures looks at other cultures in “Can the Subaltern Speak?”. From the beginning of “Can the Subaltern Speak?” Spivak says that western thinking is produced in order to support the west. Spivak says that knowledge is never innocent and that it expresses the interests of its producers. This is true of any history book, the good guy depends of what culture is presenting the text. Knowledge is exported from the west to the third world for financial and other types of gain to Spivak. This idea can be read in the quote: “The subaltern is thrown out of joint when his cultural macrology is operated, however remotely, by the epistemic interference with legal and disciplinary definitions accompanying the imperialistic [Western] project.”

The fact that the west is gathering information on the cultures in the third world country and taking that information back to the west, to be sold for the benefit of the western readers, and financial gain of the western writer is noted by Spivak. Spivak wonders if it can be possible for the west to speak about the “the other” without colonial the filter.

Through use of the Sati the subaltern is not able to speak: through “patriarchy and imperialism [Western ideology]…the figure of the woman [Subaltern] disappears…”

Donzell Evans


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