September 12, 2012


By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak will give the talk, "Healthcare for the General Culture: The Challenge of the Humanities," Thursday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell University.

Spivak will explore how the arts and humanities shape the imagination toward a will for social justice, the chief ingredient of a healthy culture.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the University's Harry Wolcott Robbins Lecture Series.

A University Professor at Columbia University, Spivak also is co-founder of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.

Considered a leading literary theorist and cultural critic, Spivak has taught in colleges in New Delhi, British Columbia, Frankfurt and Riyadh. She received her bachelor's degree at the University of Calcutta, and her master's and doctoral degrees from Cornell University.

Spivak has had a life of civic engagement focused especially on international women's movements and rural education in India. She founded the Pares Chandra and Sivani Chakravorty Memorial Literacy Project in 1997 to support her efforts, since 1986, to train teachers for primary education for children in rural India. This year she has contributed her Kyoto Prize for lifetime achievement in arts and philosophy to continue funding the project.

Spivak is credited with pioneering feminist and post-colonial studies within global academia, beginning with her 1976 translation of Jacques Derrida's De la grammatologie. In 1985, she published the essay Can the Subaltern Speak?, about the class at a distance from social mobility, considered a founding text of post-colonialism. She is acknowledged by many in literary circles to be the one of the world's leading Marxist-feminist-deconstructionists.

She has the author or translator of more than 17 books including A Critique of Postcolonial Reason, In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics, Outside in the Teaching MachineDeath of a Discipline, Other Asias, and An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization.

Following the Robbins Lecture, two distinguished scholars will discuss aspects of the lecture and the problems Spivak addresses. They are Eric Hayot, professor of comparative literature and Asian studies at Penn State and vice president of the American Comparative Literature Association; and Gabeba Baderoon, assistant professor of women's studies and African and African-American studies at Penn State, and an award-winning poet.

Co-sponsors for this event include the University Lectureship Committee; the Humanities Institute; the College of Arts and Sciences; the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender; the Griot Institute for Africana Studies; the Comparative Humanities program; the Women's and Gender Studies program; and the Departments of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics; International Relations; Anthropology and Sociology; Geography; and Spanish.

Contact: Division of Communications
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