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Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Biography

(1942– ), Of Grammatology, In Other Worlds, Inside in the Teaching Machine, Imaginary Maps

essays critical theory third

Indian writer, critic, literary theorist, and academic, born in Calcutta, where she was educated. She later studied in America, where she has held several important academic posts. In 1976 she translated Derrida's Of Grammatology, which was instrumental in disseminating the theories of deconstruction in America and in Britain. In her own critical practice, Spivak expands the methodology of deconstruction to introduce Marxist and feminist perspectives. Her influential work of cultural theory, In Other Worlds (1987), is a collection of essays which analyse contemporary ideas and ideologies from psychoanalysis and social theory to subaltern history and Eurocentric feminism. Though Spivak's rhetorical style is often abstruse and recondite, her original contribution to contemporary critical theory lies not only in her radical examination of the relationship between language, women, and culture, but also in her introduction of a pro-Third World perspective with an emphasis on the marginalized subject of cultural discourse. The essays in Inside in the Teaching Machine (1993) continue her deconstructive trajectory and display her deepening involvement with Third World affairs and their literary manifestations. Imaginary Maps (1995) contains her translations of three stories by the radical Bengali woman writer Mahasweta Devi, accompanied by critical essays on the work and a long interview with the author by Spivak.

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