Gayatri Spivak to Speak at UA

Award-winning scholar Gayatri Spivak, who helped established the discipline of postcolonial and cultural studies, will give a free public talk at the UA on Jan. 19.
Jan. 17, 2012
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Award-winning scholar Gayatri Spivak will give a public talk Jan. 19 at the UA. (Photo courtesy of Confluence: Center for Creative Inquiry)
Award-winning scholar Gayatri Spivak will give a public talk Jan. 19 at the UA. (Photo courtesy of Confluence: Center for Creative Inquiry)

Confluence: Center for Creative Inquiry is bringing Gayatri Spivak, one of the founders of postcolonial and cultural studies, to the University of Arizona.

Spivak, a Columbia University professor of comparative literature, is presenting the inaugural lecture in a new series being organized by Confluence.

"In addition to facilitating interdisciplinary research and creative activities on campus, Confluence is now offering public lectures by prominent speakers," said Javier D. Durán, who directs Confluence, which values and promotes creativity, innovation, collaboration and discovery as well as community and public engagement.

The Jan. 19 event will be held at 5 p.m. at Crowder Hall, which is located in the UA Music Building, 1017 N. Olive Road, with Spivak presenting her talk, "A Borderless World?"

The event, co-sponsored by the UA's Spanish and Portuguese department and the College of Humanities, is free and open to the public. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

Spivak also will give a follow-up seminar on Jan. 20 at noon in the Student Union Memorial Center's Agave Room, 1303 E. University Blvd. The seminar is free and open to the UA community.

As the question mark in the lecture title suggests, there is no certainty of such a world; yet, Spivak says it is feasible.

"Gayatri Spivak is not only a pioneer in the fields of postcolonial and cultural studies, but is also a provocative public speaker and influential critical thinker," said Durán, also an associate professor of Spanish and border studies. "We are delighted to have Spivak as our inaugural speaker."

While visas and passports might never become obsolete, a seamless world where the walls have been demolished by capital, technology and knowledge of languages is certainly possible, Spivak has affirmed.

But that possibility also hinges largely on economic justice and the ability to dream of a world where nations rethink their loyalty to borders and frontiers, she also has said.

"Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is among the few supremely gifted cultural and literary critics and theorists in the English-writing world who have helped transform and redefine the agenda for studies in the humanities for our time," said Suresh Raval, a UA English professor.

"Her visit to our campus provides a wonderful opportunity for all our colleagues and graduate students in the humanities and social sciences to experience her exemplary mind at work," Raval added.

Miranda Joseph, associate professor and interim head of the UA gender and women's studies department, said Spivak is among the most important and impactful scholars in the field of women's studies.

"She brings together deconstruction with analyses of global capitalism and gender as a system of power deployed in colonial and post-colonial political-economic machinations," Joseph said.

"In doing so, she articulates crucial intellectual architecture and sets rigorous ethical standards for transnational feminist scholarship-the cutting edge of the field," she added. "It is an extraordinary opportunity for us at the UA to have her here in person."