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Do you consider that your work belongs to the field of "political theory", and why (not)? If so, what has drawn you to do political theory and to describe your work as belonging to the field?
Thirty years ago, I might have said that I was writing political theory. I was much more reckless at that time. Today I would say that since I know very little of the tremendous expanse of the history and theory of politics and the political all over the world, I will leave it to my readership to tell me if I'm doing political theory. I would obviously like to be useful in the field of the diverse political problems in the world today, but that's just what I want, not necessarily something that I'm capable of doing.In 2019, the French Association of Political Science (Association française de science politique) published a warning message on the "decline of political theory and the history of ideas". Would you say that this is a relevant observation for academia in your country?
I have been teaching full-time in the United States now for fifty-six years, and I would say that yes, there is a bit of a decline in the history of ideas and political theory, although my experience is really confined to elite universities. Last year Donald Trump created the 1776 project by which he tried to deny the role of slavery in the production of the history of the United States. Although Trump is no longer head of state, the 1776 project goes on strong, there is tremendous voter suppression, and censorship and dismissal of junior and adjunct faculty at universities and colleges as reported by the American Association of University Professors…

  • Political theory
  • imaginative activism
  • philanthropy
  • human rights
  • subaltern
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is University Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. Her books are Myself Must I Remake (1974), Of Grammatology (1976; translation with critical introduction of Derrida's De la grammatologie), In Other Worlds (1987), Outside in the Teaching Machine (1993), A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (1999), Other Asias (2003), An Aesthetic Education (2013), and Readings (2014). She has won the Kyoto Prize (2012) and the Padma Bhushan (2013). She holds twelve honorary doctorates. "Can the Subaltern Speak?" has become a worldwide classic.
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