Excerpts are provided from a keynote address to the US National Women’s Studies Association, by Gayatri Spivak, Professor of Humanities, Columbia University. Gayatri Spivak is co-founder of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society and is a world-famous scholar of deconstructionism. She takes as her theme the question from her best-known essay: “Can the subaltern speak?” The related question embedded in the talk is: if she speaks, can she be properly understood, when the listeners superimpose their own context, language, and expectations on the messages of those they see as lowly. Global feminism is unfolding in a context of aggressive financialization of the whole world; to have any balance requires the agents of development learn to listen.
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