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Can the Subaltern Speak

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Few essays in postcolonial studies have been more influential than Gayatri Spivak’s “Can the subaltern speak?” The essay is much cited and the term “subaltern” is often used casually by scholars, often as a synonym for marginal or oppressed. The problem of sati, which is raised by Spivak, has also been much discussed. But what exactly does Spivak mean by the term “subaltern”? What does she have to say about the issue of representation? And what role does antiquity (Indian, Greek, Roman) play in the analysis of sati? These are some of the questions that will be explored in the paper.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Classical Reception Seminar Series series.

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