Critical Intimacy: An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

Today, Spivak is an academic superstar — a prolific scholar and co-founder of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. When she first started working on a translation of Derrida’s treatise, Spivak was an unknown academic in her mid-20s — “this young Asian girl,” as she says, trying to navigate the strange world of American academe. Spivak was a most unlikely translator. She had no formal training in philosophy and was not a native English or French speaker, so it was an audacious — almost preposterous — project to translate such a complex work of high theory. She not only translated the book; she also wrote her own monograph-length preface that introduced Derrida to a new generation of literary scholars. Intimacy: An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak


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