Gayatri Spivak. Photo: Ralph K. Penno

Gayatri Spivak at the American Academy

In her Richard von Weizsäcker Lecture at the American Academy, on October 17, 2017, Columbia University professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak discussed the great African American intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois in the diversity of his positions—from the American “Negro” to global communism and Pan-Africanism, with reference to his literary and autobiographical works. Following the lecture, Spivak spent time speaking with the audience during an informal reception.

On October 18, Spivak spoke at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin’s Audimax, where she delivered the Distinguished W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, offering a new reading of Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk and Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880, a pioneering study of the societal role black Americans played in the crucial period after the Civil War. Spivak’s readings were in the context of the largest sectors of the electorate in Africa and Asia today, and their relationship with Du Bois’s struggles as they developed out of recognizable German contexts, Antonio Gramsci’s invocation of the production of the subaltern intellectual, and Tillie Olsen’s background in Rosa Luxemburg’s Mass Strike.

You can watch the video of Spivak’s Academy lecture below the photo gallery.