Deconstruction and Cultural Studies: Arguments for a Deconstructive Cultural Studies

  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak


Derrida’s copious teaching notes, published these days almost as is, remind us that teaching is no more than a ‘who wins loses’ style game against its own destined errancy.1 A teacher will say, everyone knows this. I am not sure. Aristotle’s class notes, Hegel’s class notes, Saussure’s class notes seem to have frozen into orthodoxies of various kinds. ‘Culture’ is learned without teachers, even as it is taught by parents and elders, of both genders, in different ways. ‘Cultural Studies’ is a terrible misnomer, now that it has been around long enough for people to have forgotten that it was originally a study of the politics of those who claim dominant culture. ‘Civilizational competence’ is learned by those ambitious to enter the discourse of the masters, even if to destabilize it. The institutionalization of Cultural Studies has something like a relationship with the missed crossings between errant tendencies. This essay runs after them, necessarily in vain.


Cultural Study Comparative Literature Religious Minority Political Weekly Colonial Subject 

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© Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak 2000

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  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

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