Columbia professor Gayatri Spivak to give lecture at NYU
September 12, 2013
The Steinhardt Department of Media, Culture and Communication will be hosting Gayatri Spivak’s lecture, “Democracy and Representation,” tonight. Spivak is currently a tenured professor at Columbia literary theorist Gayatri Spivak, a tenured professor at Columbia University, for a lecture called, “Democracy and Representation” tonight.
Spivak is a founding member of Columbia’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, author of an article considered a founding piece of postcolonialism and the recipient of the third-highest civilian award in India, known as the Padma Bhushan.
Dove Helena Pedlosky, assistant director of external relations for MCC, said Spivak was invited to headline the department’s annual lecture series by MCC professor Arvind Rajagopal.
“The event promises to be quite popular,” Pedlosky said. “It is already at capacity with a large wait list.”
Steinhardt senior Jeremy Holmes said he was looking forward to both seeing Spivak and hearing her speak.
“I’m really excited to attend her lecture,” Holmes said. “I know that I’ll leave as a smarter and better person. I remember reading ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ and feeling more enlightened, so I can’t wait to see what she can do in person.”
The event page describes the lecture topic as “the problem of political representation amid the forces of international democracy,” but Spivak had a different description in mind.
“[The lecture is] a discussion of ‘development’ from a broader and more humane point of view,” she said. “Perhaps a sense of being ‘folded together’ with many different things happening in today’s world. Give a sense of the humanities’ role in bringing this about.”
Despite the packed house, Spivak provided a tip for those wanting to get the most out of her presentation.
“I don’t do so well in one-time-only lectures, but I keep trying,” she said. “The trick is to ask me questions in the Q-and-A. Push me. I learn a lot that way.”
After admitting that she wanted to improve, Spivak also offered insight about taking advantage of learning opportunities.
“My feeling is that all should learn how to act every day remembering that everyone, poor or rich, old or young, is on holiday in the world,” she said.
Spivak also offered words of wisdom to college students.
“Try to say ‘yes’ first, not necessarily last, from your heart to your opponent,” she added.
However, when asked to explain her own influence, Spivak was humble.
“This is for others to say,” she said.
The lecture is hosted by the Steinhardt Department of Media, Culture and Communications and will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at 239 Greene St. in the Eighth Floor Commons. Tickets are sold out, however there is a wait list available.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 12 print edition. Cassie Cassillas is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]