Still Pushing for the Humanities

Hosted by the Department of Gender Studies

Old Theatre, Old Building,


Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak


Dr Sumi Madhok

In this lecture, Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak will explore the importance of teaching the humanities at both ends of the spectrum: post-tertiary at Columbia and elementary on the Birbhum-Jharkhand border. She examines how being taught the humanities can provide a critical route to social justice for today’s youth within globalization. This examination is undertaken because law should not be maintained on enforcement alone. Humanities pedagogy must also be revised, so that it can contribute to the statistical estimation of human development.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is the leading and also one of the most intellectually exciting philosophers and literary theorist of our times.  She is University Professor, and a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, at Columbia University, New York. She has also been a committed activist in rural education and feminist and ecological social movements since 1986. Her 1985 text, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak’ is widely regarded as one of the founding texts of postcolonial scholarship and in the thirty years since its first publication continues to influence and raise philosophical, historiographical, epistemic and political questions across the humanities and the social sciences. She is the author of numerous books including Of Grammatology (translation with critical introduction of Jacques Derrida, De la grammatologie, 1976), In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics (1987; Routledge Classic 2002), Selected Subaltern Studies (ed., 1988), The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues (1990), Thinking Academic Freedom in Gendered Post-Coloniality (1993) Outside in the Teaching Machine (1993; Routledge classic 2003), Imaginary Maps(translation with critical introduction of three stories by Mahasweta Devi, 1994), Breast Stories (translation with critical introduction of three stories by Mahasweta Devi, 1997), Old Women (translation with critical introduction of two stories by Mahasweta Devi, 1999),Imperatives to Re-Imagine the Planet / Imperative zur Neuerfindung des Planeten (ed. Willi Goetschel, 1999; 2d ed. forthcoming), A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Towards a History of the Vanishing Present (1999), Death of a Discipline (2003), Other Asias (2005), An Aesthetic Education in the Age 

In 2012 she was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy for being "a critical theorist and educator speaking for the humanities against intellectual colonialism in relation to the globalized world". She received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award given by the Republic of India, in 2013.

The Gender Institute (@lsegendertweet) was established in 1993 to address the major intellectual challenges posed by contemporary changes in gender relations. This remains a central aim of the Institute today, which is the largest research and teaching unit of its kind in Europe. 

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSESpivak


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This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email