12. Mai —
18. Juni 2017

What Time is it on the Clock of the World?

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

© Wilfred Gachau
© Wilfred Gachau

The Academy of Unlearning invites you to its festive inauguration in the celebration hall of the Vienna City Hall for collective inspiration from Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak!

In her speech, Professor Spivak will present her reflections on the simultaneity of social and political transformations in a global context beyond the explanatory patterns of Western hegemony. The title question What Time is it on the Clock of the World? goes back to a formulation by the American civil rights activist, philosopher and feminist Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015), who was committed to social change, the workers' movement, and the rights of the African-American population.

It links the awareness of the historical situatedness of recent developments with the activistic moment for changing existing conditions: What is the time on the world clock? And, at the same time: What would be the right thing to do right now?

Born in Calcutta in 1942, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is a professor of literary studies at Columbia University, New York, and is regarded as the co-founder and most important thinker of postcolonial theory. She researches and teaches at the interfaces of globalization, feminism, Marxism and deconstruction on the issues of identity. In her work, she challenges those approaches that hold that the "West is more democratic, more civilized, and so ultimately more developed than the rest of the world", and that the " current postcolonial time is more progressive than earlier historical periods”.  Professor Spivak's work bridges the gap between the academic world and that of political activism. In her commitment to civil society, she is particularly devoted to education in rural India. In 1997, she founded the Pares Chandra and Sivani Chakravorty Memorial Literacy Project, which currently operates schools in West Bengal. In 2012, she received the Kyoto Prize for her work on art and philosophy.