Class Time: Spivak’s "Teacherly Turn"


This article examines the conceptions of and relations between temporality and materiality as they are articulated in Gayatri Spivak’s “teacherly turn,” especially in Death of a Discipline (2003). It analyzes Spivak’s theorization of classroom practice—in particular in comparative literature—in relation to postcolonial and new materialist politics, demonstrating that she links materiality, attention, and temporality directly to the politics of authority and domination. Beginning with an exploration of the functions of “hope” and “haunting” in Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novel Petals of Blood (1977), the article sketches Spivak’s account of the pedagogical encounter as similarly both haunted and hopeful. It argues that she produces an account of classroom temporality that does not operate according to linear, humanist presuppositions, allowing her to re-configure the humanist politics of comparative literature (and aesthetic education more broadly) in ways that open toward a politics of “planetarity.”

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Copyright © Faculty of Education of the University of Oulu, Finland. This article first appears in Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices 9:1 (2015): 49-61.

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Citation Example for Article (Chicago):

Snaza, Nathan. "Class Time: Spivak’s 'Teacherly Turn'." Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices 9, no.1 (2015): 49-61.