Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Living Translation offers a powerful perspective on the work of distinguished thinker and writer Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, revealing how, throughout her long career, she has made translation a central concern of the comparative humanities.
Starting with her landmark "Translator's Preface" to Jacques Derrida's Of Grammatology in 1976, and continuing with her foreword to Mahasweta Devi's Draupadi and afterword to Devi's Chotti Munda and His Arrow, Spivak has tackled questions of translatability. She has been interested in interrogating the act of translation from the ground up and at the political limit. She sees at play at border checkpoints, at sites of colonial pedagogy, in acts of resistance to monolingual regimes of national language, at the borders of minor literature and schizo-analysis, in the deficits of cultural debt and linguistic expropriation, and, more generally, at theory's edge, which is to say, where practical criticism yields to theorizing in untranslatables.
This volume also addresses how Spivak's institution-building as director of comparative literature at the University of Iowa—and in her subsequent places of employment—began at the same time. From this perspective, Spivak takes her place within a distinguished line-up of translator-theorists who have been particularly attuned to the processes of cognizing in languages, all of them alive to the coproductivity of thinking, translating, writing.