Lecture: Prof. Dr. Gayatri Spivak on Affirmative Sabotage

Dr. Ethel Brooks (Rutgers University); Dr. William Bila (President Las Voix des Rroms); Dr. Angela Kocze (Central European University); Timea Junghaus (Director of ERIAC); Dr. Nicoleta Bitu (Chair of the RomArchive Board); Professor Gayatri Spivak (Columbia University)

On 26 February 2018, in the framework of ERIAC’s first “International Cultural Outreach Program”, Prof. Dr. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak of Columbia University gave a lecture together with Roma feminist scholars. In this panel discussion organised in ERIAC’s office and art space in Berlin, outstanding Roma activists discussed the transformative potential of transnational alliances and the power of the periphery to renew social cohesion. Through mobilising the knowledge of the Roma people, Roma feminists proposed to rethink the relationship between nationalism and diversity, searching for answers to what it means to be European today, in a continent divided by political challenges.


The discussion was inaugurated by a lecture by Prof. Dr. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak on the notion of “Affirmative Sabotage”. In her lecture, Professor Spivak spoke about the need for a “New Humanism” and linked the contemporary scholarly debates to the current situation of the Roma.


Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, born 24 February 1942 in Calcutta (today Kolkata), India, is a literary theorist, feminist critic, postcolonial theorist, and professor of comparative literature. She is professor at Columbia University, where she is a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Considered one of the most influential postcolonial intellectuals, Prof. Dr. Spivak is best known for her seminal essay, “Can the subaltern speak?”, and has eleven honorary doctorates form universities across the world.

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