Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 61

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

Righting Wrongs
The piinaiy noninative sense ol rignts cited
ly the Ojcrd Eng|isn Dicticnury is ustialle
clain, on legal oi noial giounds, to have oi
oltain sonething, oi to act in a ceitain way.
Theie is no paiallel usage ol wrcngs, connected to
an agent in the possessive caseny wiongs
oi given to it as an olect ol the veil tc nuvc
she has wiongs.
Rignts entail an individual oi collective.
Wrcngs, howevei, cannot le used as a noun,
except insolai as an othei, as agent ol inustice,
is involved. The veil tc wrcng is noie connon
than the noun, and indeed the noun piolally
gets its enclitic neaning ly lack-loination lion
the veil.
The woid rignts in Hunan Rights, Hunan
Wiongs, the title ol the zoo Oxloid Annesty
Lectuies seiies in which this essay was ist pie-
sented, acquiies veilal neaning ly its contiguity
with the woid wrcngs.
The veil tc rignt cannot le
used intiansitively on this level ol alstiaction. It
can only le used with the unusual noun wrcng:
to iight a wiong, oi to iight wiongs. Thus
Hunan Rights is not only alout having oi
claining a iight oi a set ol iights, it is also alout
iighting wiongs, alout leing the dispensei ol
The Scutn At|untic Quurtcr|y o:z[, Spiing[Sunnei zooq.
Copyiight _ zooq ly Gayatii Chakiavoity Spivak.
524 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
these iights. The idea ol hunan iights, in othei woids, nay caiiy within
itsell the agenda ol a kind ol social Daiwinisnthe ttest nust shouldei
the luiden ol iighting the wiongs ol the untand the possilility ol an
Only a kind ol Social Daiwinisn, ol couise. ]ust as the white nans
luiden, undeitaking to civilize and develop, was only a kind ol oppies-
sion. It would le silly to lootnote the scholaiship that has leen wiitten to
showthat the lattei nay have leenanalili loi econonic, nilitaiy, andpoliti-
cal inteivention. It is on that nodel that I an using the concept-netaphoi
ol the alili in these intioductoiy paiagiaphs.
Having aiiived heie, the usual thing is to conplain alout the Euiocen-
tiisn ol hunan iights. I have no such intention. I an ol couise tioulled
ly the use ol hunan iights as an alili loi inteiventions ol vaiious soits.
But its so-called Euiopean piovenance is loi ne in the sane categoiy as the
enalling violation ol the pioduction ol the colonial sulect.
One cannot
wiite o the iighting ol wiongs. The enallenent nust le used even as the
violation is ienegotiated.
Colonialisn was connitted to the education ol a ceitain class. It was
inteiested in the seeningly peinanent opeiation ol an alteied noinality.
Paiadoxically, hunan iights and developnent woik today cannot clain
this sell-enpoweinent that high colonialisn could. Yet, sone ol the lest
pioducts ol high colonialisn, descendants ol the colonial niddle class, le-
cone hunan iights advocates in the countiies ol the South. I will explain
thiough an analogy.
Doctois without FiontieisI nd this tianslation noie accuiate than
the ieceived Doctois without Boideisdispense healing all ovei the woild,
tiaveling to solve health piollens as they aiise. They cannot le involved
in the iepetitive woik ol piinaiy health caie, which iequiies changes in
the halit ol what seens noinal living: peinanent opeiation ol an alteied
noinality. This gioup cannot leain all the local languages, dialects, and
idions ol the places wheie they piovide help. They use local inteipieteis.
It is as il, in the eld ol class loination thiough education, colonialisn,
and the attendant teiiitoiial inpeiialisn had conlined these two inpeia-
tivesclinic and piinaiy health caiely tiaining the inteipieteis then-
selves into inpeilect yet cieative initations ol the doctois. The class thus
loinedloth (pseudo)doctoi and inteipietei, as it weiewas the colonial
The end ol the Second Woild Wai inauguiated the postcolonial dispen-
Rignting Wrcngs 525
It was the U.N. Special Connittee on Decolonization . . . that in 6
asked the Connission [on Hunan Rights, cieated in q6| to piocess
the petitions that the Connittee was ieceiving alout hunan iights
violations insoutheinAliica. . . . [Until the nid-6os,| paiticulaily loi
the new Aliican and Asian nenleis, the piioiity was [white| iacisn
and [, against it| sell-deteininationlioncolonial iule [, inothei woids,
decolonization|. Latei, theii enthusiasnloi the newpioceduies waned
as the piotectionol civil and political [hunan| iights [inthe newnation|
eneiged as the piioiity consideiation and nany ol then lecane the
taigets [since they, as the new nasteis, weie the guilty paity| loi the
Connissions new nandate.
Foi the eighteenth-centuiy Declaiation ol the Rights ol Man and ol the
Citizen ly the National Assenlly ol Fiance the nation is essentially the
souice ol soveieignty, noi can any individual, oi any lody ol nen, le en-
titled to any authoiity which is not expiessly deiived lion it.
A hundied
and lty yeais latei, loi lettei oi loi woise, the hunan iights aspect ol post-
coloniality has tuined out to le the lieaking ol the new nations, in the
nane ol theii lieaking-in into the inteinational connunity ol nations.
This is the naiiative ol inteinational naneuveiing. Thonas Risse, Stephen
Ropp, and Kathiyn Sikkinks iecent look, Tnc Pcwcr cj !unun Rignts, takes
the naiiative luithei. In addition to the doninant states, they aigue, since
it is the tiansnational agencies, plus nongoveinnental oiganizations
(NGOs), that suldue the state.
Neveitheless, it is still disingenuous to call hunan iights Euiocentiic,
not only lecause, in the glolal South, the donestic hunan iights woikeis
aie, ly and laige, the descendants ol the colonial sulect, olten cultuially
positioned against Euiocentiisn, lut also lecause, inteinationally, the iole
ol the new diaspoiic is stiong, and the diaspoiic in the netiopolis stands
loi diveisity, against Euiocentiisn. Thus the woik ol iighting wiongs is
shaied alove a class line that to sone extent and unevenly cuts acioss iace
and the Noith-South divide.
I say to sone extent and unevenly lecause,
to le located in the Euio-U.S. still nakes a dieience. In the UNitsell, the
nain hunan iights nonitoiing lunction [has leen| allocated to the OSCE
[Oiganization loi Secuiity and Coopeiation in Euiope|.
The piesupposi-
tions ol Risse, Ropp, and Sikkinks look also nake this cleai. The sultitle
Inteinational Noins and Donestic Changeis telling. The authois idea
ol the notoi ol hunan iights is piessuie on the state lion alove
inteinationaland lion lelowdonestic. (It is uselul loi this location-
526 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
ist piivilege that nost NGOs ol the glolal South suivive on Noithein aid.)
Heie is a typical exanple, as it happens alout the Philippines: Hunan
iights have gained piesciiptive status independent ol political inteiests. . . .
[We| doult that halitualization oi institutionalization at the state level have
pioceeded suciently to iendei piessuie lion societal actois lutile.
This is piessuie lion lelow, ol couise. Behind these societal actois
and the state is inteinational noinative piessuie. I will go on to suggest
that, unless education is thought dieiently lionconsciousness-iaising
alout the hunan iights noin and iising liteiacy expand[ing| the indi-
viduals nedia exposuie, sucient halitualizationoi institutionalization
will nevei aiiive, and this will continue to piovide ustication loi inteina-
tional contiol.
Thinking alout education and the diaspoia, Edwaid Said has iecently
wiitten that the Aneiican Univeisity geneially [is| loi its acadenic sta
and nany ol its students the last ienaining utopia.
The philosophei Rich-
aid Roity as well as Lee Kuan Yew, the loinei piine ninistei ol Singa-
poiewho suppoited detentionwithout tiial . . . [as| Conlucianistshaie
Piolessoi Saids view ol the utopianisn ol the Euio-U.S. univeisity. I quote
Roity, lut I invite you to iead Pieniei Lees Frcn Tnird Wcr|d tc First. Tnc
Singupcrc Stcry. r6.ccc to savoi theii accoid: Pioducing geneiations
ol nice, toleiant, well-o, secuie, othei-iespecting students ol [the Aneii-
can| soit in all paits ol the woild is ust what is neededindeed all that
is neededto achieve an Enlightennent utopia. The noie youngsteis like
that we can iaise, the stiongei and noie glolal oui hunan iights cultuie
will lecone.
Il one wishes to nake this iestiicted utopianisn, which extends to
gieat univeisities eveiywheie, availalle loi glolal social ustice, one nust
unnooi it lion its elite sale hailois, suppoited ly the powei ol the doni-
nant nations civil polity, and le inteiested in a kind ol education loi the
laigest sectoi ol the lutuie electoiate in the glolal Souththe childien ol
the iuial pooithat would go leyond liteiacy and nuneiacy and nd a
hone in an expanded denition ol a Hunanities to cone.
Education in the Hunanities attenpts to le an uncccrcivc ieaiiangenent
ol desiies.
Il you aie not peisuaded ly this sinple desciiption, nothing
I say alout the Hunanities will nove you. This is the luiden ol the sec-
ond section ol this essay. This sinple lut dicult piactice is outlined theie.
It is only when we inteiest ouiselves in this new kind ol education loi the
childien ol the iuial pooi in the glolal South that the inevitalility ol unie-
nitting piessuie as the prinun ncbi|c ol hunan iights will le questioned.
Rignting Wrcngs 527
Il one engages in such enpoweinent at the lowest level, it is in the hope
that the need loi inteinational[donestic-elite piessuie on the state will not
ienain piinaiy loievei. We cannot necessaiily expect the old colonial sul-
ect tiansloined into the newdonestic niddle-class uilan iadical, dened
as lelow ly Risse, Ropp, and Sikkink and ly netiopolitan hunan iights
in geneial, to engage in the attenpt I will go on to desciile. Although physi-
cally lased inthe South, and theieloie piesunally lai lionthe utopianuni-
veisity, this class is geneially also out ol touch with the nindseta conli-
nation ol epistene and ethical discouiseol the iuial pooi lelowthe NGO
level. To le alle to piesent a pioect that will diaw aid lion the Noith, loi
exanple, to undeistand and state a piollenintelligilly and peisuasively loi
the taste ol the Noith, is itsell piool ol a soit ol epistenic discontinuity with
the ill-educated iuial pooi.
(And the soit ol education we aie thinking ol is
not to nake the iuial pooi capalle ol dialting NGO giant pioposalsl) This
discontinuity, not skincoloi oi national identity ciudely undeistood, undei-
giids the question ol who always iights and who is peiennially wionged.
I have leen suggesting, then, that hunan iights cultuie iuns on unie-
nitting Noithein-ideological piessuie, even when it is lion the South,
that theie is a ieal epistenic discontinuity letween the Southein hunan
iights advocates and those whonthey piotect.
Inoidei to shilt this layeied
discontinuity, howevei slightly, we nust locus on the quality and end ol
education, at loth ends, the Southein elite is olten educated in Westein
oi Westein-style institutions. We nust woik at loth endsloth in Said[
Roitys utopia and in the schools ol the iuial pooi in the glolal South.
I will aigue this ly way ol a histoiical and theoietical digiession.
As long as the clain to natuial oi inalienalle hunan iightsiights that
all hunan leings possess lecause they aie hunan ly natuiewas ieactive
to the histoiical alienation in Euiope as suchthe Fiench ancien igine
oi the Geinan Thiid Reichthe piollen ol ielating natuial to civil
iights was on the agenda. Since its use ly the Connission on Decolo-
nization in the sixties, its thoiough politicization in the nineties, when the
nation-states ol the South, and peihaps the nation-state loin itsell, needed
to le lioken in the lace ol the iestiuctuiing denands ol glolalization, and
its nal inclusion ol the postcolonial sulect in the loinol the netiopolitan
diaspoiic, that paiticulai piollenol ielating natuial to civil iights
was quietly loigotten. In othei woids, that the question ol natuie nust le
legged (assuned when it needs to le denonstiated), in oidei to use it his-
toiically, has leen loigotten.
The uigency ol the political calculus olliges Thonas Paine to ieduce
528 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
the shadow ol this innense Euiopean delateletween ustice and law,
letween natuial and civil iights ( juru), at least as old as classical antiquity
to a dieience. The stiuctuial asynnetiy ol the dieienceletween
nental theatei and state stiuctuieienains noticealle:
His natuial iights aie the loundation ol all his civil iights. But in oidei
to puisue this distinction with noie piecision, it will le necessaiy to
naik the dieient qualities ol natuial and civil iights. . . . Eveiy civil
iight has loi its loundation, sone natuial iight pie-existing in the indi-
vidual, lut to the enoynent ol which his individual powei is not, in
all cases, sucient.
The context ol the scccnd Declaiation liings us close to oui piesent. To
situate it histoiically within the thenatic ol the legged question at the oii-
gin, I ielei the ieadei to ]acques Deiiidas tieatnent ol how Waltei Ben-
anin attenpts to contain this in his z essay Ciitique ol Violence,
dealing piecisely with the ielationship letween natuial and positive law
and legitinate and illegitinate violence.
Benanins consideiation ol the
linaiy opposition letween legitinate and illegitinate violence as it ielates
to the oiiginaiy violence that estallishes authoiity can le placed on the
chain ol displacenents lion Holless consideiation ol the linaiy opposi-
tion letween the state ol natuie and the lawol natuie, with the loinei split
ly what Geoige Shelton sees as the dieience letween the ctive and its
iepiesentation as the ieal.
I will nention Einst Blochs Nuturu| Luw und !unun Dignity (6) heie
to give a sense ol a text at the othei end ol the Thiid Reich.
The sixties will
witness the inteinationalization ol Hunan Rights. The Benanin[Bloch
texts iepiesent the Euiopean lineanents that liought loith the second
Bloch laces the piollen ol the natuial ly histoiicizing it. He gives an
account ol the ways inwhichthe Euiopeantiaditionhas nessed the legged
question ol natuie. His heioes aie the Stoicsespecially Epicuiusand
Maix. Maix contains the potential ol setting liee the question ol natuie as
lieedon: A Maixisn that was what it was supposed to le would le a iadi-
cal penal theoiy, indeed the nost iadical and at the sane tine nost ani-
alle: It kills the social nothei ol inustice. I cannot ciedit a Maixisn in
its piopei outlines. But I can at least suggest that in these tines, when an
inteinationalized hunan iights has loigotten to acknowledge the legged
question ol natuie, a nondisciplinaiy philosophei who has leen taught
Rignting Wrcngs 529
the value ol philosophy as an ait ol living in the Stoic style thiough the
Nietzscheanline ol Foucault and Deiiida, night want to point out that Zeno
and Epicuius weie, necessaiily, what would today le called colonial sul-
ects, and suggest that we nay attenpt to supplenent a neiely penal sys-
ten ly ieinventing the social nothei ol inustice as woildwide class apait-
heid, and kill hei, again and again, in the node ol to cone, thiough the
education ol those who lell thiough colonial sulect-loination.
I have not the expeitise to sunnaiize the long histoiy ol the Euiopean
delate suiiounding natuial[civil iights. With sone hesitation I would point
at the sepaiation[inliication ol natuie and lileity in Machiavelli, at the
necessaiy slippage in Holles letween social contiact as natuial ction and
social contiact as civil ieality, at Holless delate on lileity and necessity
with Bishop Bianhill.
Geoige Shelton distinguishes letween a hypo-
thetical and a ieal social contiact in Holles, at a ceitain point calling
the loinei a uselul ction.
Newinteiest in Hollesian theology has dis-
closed a sinilai pattein in Holless discussion ol God as giound.
is paiticulaily inteiesting lecause Holles is so widely seen as the initia-
toi ol individualisn. Holles hinsell places his discussions within delates
in Ronan law and I think we should iespect this chain ol displacenents
iathei than a lineai intellectual histoiythat leads to the iuptuie ol the ist
Euiopean Declaiation ol Hunan Rights.
I an aiguing that such specu-
lative lines aie not allowed to ouiish within todays glolal hunan iights
activities wheie a ciude notion ol cultuial dieience is alout as lai as
giounds talk will go.
Acadenic ieseaich nay contest this tiend ly tiacking iational ciitique
and[oi individualisnwithin non-Euiopean high cultuies.
This is valualle
woik. But the usually silent victins ol peivasive iathei than singulai and
spectaculai hunan iights violations aie geneially the iuial pooi. These aca-
denic eoits do not touch theii geneial cultuies, unless it is thiough lioad
geneializations, positive and negative. Accessing those long-delegitinized
epistenes iequiies a dieient engagenent. The pedagogic eoit that nay
liing alout lasting epistenic change in the oppiessed is nevei accuiate,
and nust le loievei ienewed. Otheiwise theie does not seen nuch point
in consideiing the Hunanities woith teaching. And, as I have alieady sig-
naled, the ied thiead ol a delense ol the Hunanities as anattenpt at uncoei-
cive ieaiiangenent ol desiies iuns thiough this essay.
Attenpts at such pedagogic change need not necessaiily involve con-
lionting the task ol undoing the legacy ol a specically cc|cniu| educa-
530 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
tion. Othei political upheavals have also divided the postcolonial oi glolal
polity into an eective class apaitheid. (I expand ny aigunent leyond
postcoloniality in the naiiow sense lecause ol what I hope is the legin-
ning ol a long-tein involvenent with giassioots iuial education in China.)
All that seens possille to suinise is that the iediessing woik ol Hunan
Rights nust le supplenented ly an education that can continue to nake
unstalle the piesupposition that the ieasonalle iighting ol wiongs is inevi-
tally the nanilest destiny ol gioupsunevenly class-divided, enliacing
Noith and Souththat ienain poised to iight then, and that, anong the
ieceiving gioups, wiongs will inevitally piolileiate with unsuipiising iegu-
laiity. Consequently, the gioups that aie the dispenseis ol hunan iights
nust iealize that, ust as the natuial Rights ol Man weie contingent upon
the histoiical Fiench Revolution, and the Univeisal Declaiation upon the
histoiical events that led to the Second Woild Wai, so also is the cuiient
eneigence, ol the hunan iights nodel as the glolal doninant, contingent
upon the tuilulence in the wake ol the dissolution ol inpeiial loinations
and glolal econonic iestiuctuiing. The task ol naking visille the legged
question giounding the political nanipulation ol a civil society loiged on
glolally dened natuial iights is ust as uigent, and not sinply ly way ol
cu|turu| ielativisn.
In disciplinaiy philosophy, discussion ol the legged question at the oii-
gin ol natuial iights is not altogethei alsent. Alan Gewiith chooses the
Rational Golden Rule as his PGC (piinciple ol geneiic consistency), stait-
ing his pioect in the lollowing way: The Golden Rule is the connon
noial denoninatoi ol all the woilds naoi ieligions.
Fion a histoii-
cal point ol view, one is olliged to say that none ol the gieat ieligions ol
the woild can lead to an end to violence today.
Wheie Gewiith, whon
nolody would associate with deconstiuction, is inpoitant loi oui aigu-
nent, is in his awaieness ol the giounding ol the ustication loi Hunan
Rights in a legged question.
He takes it as a contiadiction to solve and
nds in the tiansposition ol iational loi noial his solution.
The tia-
ditional Golden Rule [Do unto otheis as you would have then do unto you|
leaves open the question ol why any peison ought to act in accoidance with
This is the legging ol the question, lecause the noial cannot not
le noinative. Accoiding to Gewiith, a connonsensical piollen can le
theoietically avoided lecause it is not the contingent desiies ol agents lut
iathei aspects ol agency which cannot iationally le avoided oi evaded ly
any agent that deteinine the content ol the Rational Golden Rule [lecause
Rignting Wrcngs 531
it| . . . locuses on what the agent necessaiily wants oi values insolai as he
is iational. It would seen to us that this legs the question ol the ieason-
alle natuie ol ieason (accounting loi the piinciple ol ieason ly the piin-
ciple ol ieason).
We would iathei not constiuct the lest possille theoiy,
lut acknowledge that piactice always splits open the theoietical ustica-
tion. In lact, Gewiith knows this. Towaid the end ol the essay, this cuii-
ous sentence is lelt hanging: Mutcriu||y, [the| sc|j-ccntrudicticn [that to deny
oi violate the Rational Golden Rule is to contiadict onesell | is incscupub|c
lecause . . . the Rational Golden Rule [is| deiived lion the necessities ol
puiposive agency (enphasis nine). Il we acknowledge the pait outside ol
ieason in the hunan nind then we nay see the linits ol ieason as white
nythology and see the contiadictionas the necessaiy ielationship letween
two discontinuous legged questions as I have ust suggested: piool that we
aie loin liee and piool that it is the othei that calls us leloie will. Then the
question: Why nust we lollow the Golden Rule (the lasis ol hunan iights)
nds an answei: lecause the othei calls us. But it is nevei a tting answei,
it is not continuous with the question. Let us then call this a ielationship, a
discontinuous supplenentaiy ielationship, not a solution. Instead, Gewiith
is olliged to iecode the white nythology ol ieason as an unavoidalle last
instance, as an inncrcnt capal[ility| ol exeicising [hunan iights|.
Il one
enteis into a sustained give-and-take with suloidinate cultuies attenpt-
ing to addiess stiuctuial questions ol powei as well as textuial questions
ol iesponsilility, one leels noie and noie that a Gewiith-style iecoding
nay le sonething like a histoiical incapacity to giasp that to iationalize
the question ol ethics ju||y (please note that this does not nean lanishing
ieason lion ethics altogethei, ust giving it an honoialle and instiunen-
tal place) is to tiansgiess the intuition that ethics aie a piollen ol ielation
leloie they aie a task ol knowledge. This does not gainsay the lact that, in
the uiidico-legal nanipulation ol the alstiactions ol contenpoiaiy poli-
tics ly those who iight wiongs, wheie a ieasoned calculus is instiunentally
necessaiy, nothing can le noie welcone than Gewiiths iational ustica-
tion. What we aie desciiling is a sinplied veision ol the apoiia letween
ethics and politics. An apoiia is disclosed only in its one-way ciossing. This
essay attenpts to nake the ieadei iecognize that hunan iights is such an
inteiested ciossing, a containnent ol the apoiia in linaiy oppositions.
A lew woids, then, alout supplenenting netiopolitan education leloie
I elaloiate on the pedagogy ol the sulaltein. By subu|tcrn I nean those
ienoved lion lines ol social nolility.
532 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
I will continue to insist that the piollen with U.S. education is that
it teaches (coipoiatist) lenevolence while tiivializing the teaching ol the
The iesult is, at lest, cultuial ielativisn as cultuial alsolut-
isn (Aneiican-style education will do the tiick). Its undoing is lest pio-
duced ly way ol the tiaining ol ieexes that kick in at the tine ol uigency,
ol decision and policy. Howevei uniealistic it nay seen to you, I would
not ienain a teachei ol the Hunanities il I did not lelieve that at the
New Yoik endstanding netonynically loi the dispensing end as such
the teachei can tiy to ieaiiange desiies noncoeicivelyas I nentioned
eailieithiough an attenpt to develop in the student a halit ol liteiaiy
ieading, even ust ieading, suspending onesell into the text ol the othei
loi which the ist condition and eect is a suspension ol the conviction that
I annecessaiily lettei, I annecessaiily indispensalle, I annecessaiily the
one to iight wiongs, I annecessaiily the end pioduct loi which histoiy hap-
pened, and that New Yoik is necessaiily the capital ol the woild. It is not
a loss ol will, especially since it is supplenented in its tuin ly the politi-
cal calculus, wheie, as Saids, Roitys, and Pieniei Lees aigunent enpha-
sizes, the possilility ol leing a helpei alounds in todays tiiunphalist
U.S. society. Atiaining in liteiaiy ieading is a tiaining to leain lionthe sin-
gulai and the unveiialle. Although liteiatuie cannot speak, this species ol
patient ieading, nining an eoit to nake the text iespond, as it weie, is a
tiaining not only in poiesis, accessing the othei so well that piolalle action
can le pieguied, lut teleo-poiesis, stiiving loi a iesponse lionthe distant
othei, without guaiantees.
I have no noial position against giading, oi wiiting ieconnendation let-
teis. But il you aie attenpting to tiain in specically liteiaiy ieading, the
iesults aie not diiectly asceitainalle ly the teaching sulect, and peihaps
not the taught sulect eithei. In ny expeiience, the piool cones in unex-
pected ways, lion the othei side. But the alsence ol such piool does not
necessaiily nean nothing has leen leained. This is why I say no guaian-
And that is also why the woik ol an epistenic undoing ol cultuial
ielativisnas cultuial alsolutisncanonly woik as a supplenent to the noie
institutional piactice, lling a iesponsilility shaped gap lut also adding
sonething discontinuous. As lai as hunan iights goes, this is the only piioi
and patient tiaining that canleaventhe quick-x tiaining institutes that pie-
paie inteinational civil society woikeis, including hunan iights advocates,
with unconplicated standaids loi success.
This is not a suggestion that all
hunan iights woikeis should have institutional Hunanities tiaining. As it
Rignting Wrcngs 533
stands, Hunanities teaching in the United States is what I an desciiling
only in the veiy iaie instance. And the node is to cone.
It is in the inteiest ol supplenenting netiopolitan Hunanities peda-
gogy, iathei than lion the peispective ol sone lantasnatic cultuial diei-
ence, that we can say that the developed postcapitalist stiuctuie ol todays
woild nust le lled with the noie iolust inpeiative to iesponsilility
that capitalist social pioductivity was olliged to destioy. We nust leain to
iedene that lost inpeiative as delective loi the eneigence ol capitalisn,
iathei than necessaiily piecapitalist on an inteiested sequential evolution-
aiy nodel.
In the sinplest teins, leing dened ly the call ol the othei
which nay le a dening leatuie ol such societiesis not conducive to
the extiaction and appiopiiation ol suiplus. Making ioon loi ctiun and
living in the ihythn ol the eco-lione does not lead to exploiation and con-
quest ol natuie. And so on. The nethod ol a specically liteiaiy tiaining, a
slow nind-changing piocess, can le used to open the inagination to such
One ol the ieasons inteinational connunisn lailed was lecause Maix,
an oiganic intellectual ol the industiial ievolution, could only think the
claining ol iights to lieedon lion exploitation ly way ol the pullic use
ol ieason ieconnended ly the Euiopean Enlightennent. The ethical pait,
to want to exeicise the lieedon to iedistiilute, altei the ievolution, cones
ly way ol the soit ol education I an speaking ol. This intuition was not
histoiically unavailalle to Maix: Ciicunstances aie changed ly nen and
. . . the educatoi hinsell nust le educated.
In the event, the pedagogic
inpulse was conned to the lesson ol capital, to change the victin into
an agent. The intuition that the lesson was histoiically deteinined was ol
couise not unavailalle to Maix eithei.
My position is thus not against class
stiuggle, lut yet anothei attenpt to lioaden it, to include the giound con-
dition (Grundbcdingung) ol the continued iepioduction ol class apaitheid
in ancient and[oi disenlianchised societies in nodeinity. Il the industiial
pioletaiiat ol Victoiian England weie expanded to include the glolal sul-
altein, theie is no hope that such an agent could evei dictate anything
thiough the stiuctuies ol pailianentaiy denociacyI adnit I cannot give
this upil this peisistent pedagogic eoit is not sustained.
(I an noie than evei convinced ol the need to iesuscitate the lost cul-
tuial inpeiative to iesponsilility altei the initial tiip, nentioned eailiei in
this essay, to the lowest-level iuial schools in a nountain piovince in China,
in the conpany ol a wondeilully enthusiastic young English teachei at the
534 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
Univeisity ol Science and Technology in the piovincial uilan centei. He
had nevei visited such schools, nevei thought ol the possilility ol iestoiing
a lailed Connunisnwith a peisistent eoit to teach onesell howto access
oldei cultuial halits in piactice in oidei to sutuie in, in iuial education, the
ethical inpulse that can nake social ustice ouiish, loievei in the node
ol to cone, lecause loievei dependent upon the qualitative education ol
the young.
Yet he has alieady leen used ly the U.S. industiy in Chinas
ethnic ninoiity education scholaiship, as a giass-ioots native inloinant,
sent into the eld with a questionnaiie loi ten days ieseaichl A peilect
candidate loi the donestic lelow, loi whon the evils ol connunisn
seento le open loi coiiection only thiough the alsolutist aiiogance ol U.S.
utopianisn, coded as an inteiest in cultuial dieience.)
A desiie to iedistiilute is not the unpiollenatic consequence ol a well-
led society. In oidei to get that desiie noving ly the cultuial inpeiative
ol education, you have to x the possilility ol putting not ust wrcng ovei
against rignt, with all the genealogical lines conpiessed within it, lut also
to suggest that anothei antonyn ol rignt is rcspcnsibi|ity, and luithei, that
the possilility ol such iesponsilility is undeiived lion iights.
I will now desciile a snall and hunlle expeiinent that I have tiied ovei
the last ten yeais neaily eveiy day at the Colunlia Univeisity gyn and,
unhappily, the iate ol expeiinental veiication is oo peicent.
Theie is an appioxinately six-loot-ly-loui-loot windowless anteioon as
you entei the lockei aiea. This useless space, piesunally to piotect lenale
nodesty, is liightly lit. Theie is a light switch ly the dooi lion the nain
gyninto the anteioon, and anothei ly the dooi leading into the lockeis. In
othei woids, it is possille to tuinthe light oas you exit this snall, enclosed
space. You can choose not to let it luin so liightly twenty-loui houis loi
no one. Renenlei these aie univeisity lolks, geneially politically coiiect,
inteiested in health, a special contiol gioup, who talk a good gane alout
enviionnental iesponsilility. (I an diawing the exanple lion within the
cultuial idion ol the gioup, as always.) I tuin o the light in this window-
less cule whenevei I entei the lockei and ny sciatica keeps ne going to the
gynpietty iegulaily. In the last nine yeais, I have nevei ieenteied this little
space and lound the light o. Please diaw youi own conclusions.
The iesponsilility I speak ol, then, is not necessaiily the one that cones
lionthe consciousness ol supeiioiity lodged inthe sell (todays quote ol the
nonth at the gyn is, chaiacteiistically, The piice ol gieatness is iesponsi-
Rignting Wrcngs 535
lilityWinston Chuichill), lut one that is, to legin with, sensed leloie
sense as a call ol the othei.
Vaiieties ol the Chuichillian sense ol iesponsilility, neaily synony-
nous withduty, have always also leenused lionwithinthe Rights canp, ol
couise. Machiavelli and Holles loth wiote on duty. The ; veision ol the
Declaiationol the Rights ol Manalieady contained a sectiononthe duties ol
nan and ol the citizen. The UN issued a Declaiation ol Responsililities
little noie than a ieinsciiption ol the iights as duties loi theii estallish-
nentin ;. Theie is a scientists Declaiation ol Duties. And so on. This
is the tiaectoiy ol the idea ol iesponsilility as assuned, ly choice, ly
the gioup that can iight wiongs. I think Annesty Inteinational is coiiect
in saying that the UN Declaiation ol Responsililities is no conplenent
to hunan iights, and that to rcstutc . . . rignts lion the UDHR [Univeisal
Declaiation ol Hunan Rights| us rcspcnsibi|itics the dialt declaiation intio-
duces vague and ill-dened notions which can only cieate conlusion and
Thus even a lileial vision is olliged to adnit that theie is no
continuous line lioniights to iesponsililities. This notionol iesponsilility
as the duty ol the ttei sell towaid less loitunate otheis (iathei than the
piedication ol leing-hunan as leing called ly the othei, leloie will) is not
ny neaning, ol couise. I ienain conceined, howevei, ly one ol its coiollai-
ies inglolal social novenents. The leadeis lionthe donestic lelowloi
the sulaltein an alovenot iealizing the histoiically estallished discon-
tinuity letween thenselves and the sulaltein, counsel sell-help with gieat
supeivisoiy lenevolence. This is inpoitant to ienenlei lecause the sul-
alteins olvious inalility to do so without sustained supeivision is seen as
piool ol the need loi continued inteivention. It is necessaiy to le involved
in the eveiyday woiking (the textuality) ol glolal social novenents to
iecognize that the seening pioduction ol declaiations lion these supei-
vised gioups is wiittento dictationand no stiike against class apaitheid. To
clainiights is youi duty is the lanal lessonthat the alovewhethei Noith-
ein oi Southeinthen inpaits to the lelow. The oiganization ol inteina-
tional conleiences with exceptionalist tokenization to iepiesent collective
sulaltein will is a last-ditch solution, loi loth sides, il at all. And, sone-
tines, as in the case ol ny liiend in Yunan, the unwitting native inloinant
is iathei lai lion the sulaltein.
Within the iights canp, the histoiy ol sonething like iesponsilility-
lased cultuial systens is geneially given as pait ol the piogiess towaid
536 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
the developnent ol a iights-lased systen in the type case ol the Euiopean
The ]udaic aiticulation ol iesponsilility, altei the veiy wai that pioduced
the Univeisal Declaiation, is set loith ly Ennanuel Levinas.
Deiiida has
attenpted to unnooi this lionunquestioning suppoit loi the state ol Isiael
ly pioposing a nessianicity without nessianisn, although he acknowl-
edges that he is caught in the tiaces ol his own peculiai cultuial pioduction
in stating iesponsilility ust this way.
This histoiy and its institutional
discussions ienain conned to the elite acadeny. Il theie is no diiect line
lion iights to iesponsilility, theie is ceitainly no diiect possilility ol sup-
plenenting the lelow lion this discussion.
It can seen at ist glance that il the Euio-U.S. nindset nodies itsell
ly way ol what used to le called, ust yesteiday, Thiid Way politics, piovid-
ing a covei loi social denociacys iightwaid swing, peihaps the dispenseis
ol hunan iights would at least nodily theii aiiogance. As Geoige W. Bush
clains Tony Blaii as his chun on Bushs visit to Biitain in ]uly zoo, I
lelieve it is still woith exanining this inpulse, howevei liiey, so that it
is not oeied as a panacea. Let us look at a lew ciucial suggestions lion
Bcycnd Lcjt und Rignt ly Anthony Giddens, the acadenic spokespeison ol
the Thiid Way.
Giddens nentions the viitues ol thiid woild poveity and theieloie nay
seenat ist glance to le ieconnending leaining lionthe sulaltein. Ciiti-
cizing the wellaie state, he quotes Chailes Muiiay with appioval: Muiiay,
whose woik has leen inuenced ly expeiiences in iuial Thailand, asks the
question, whats wiong with leing pooi (once people aie alove the level ol
sulsistence poveity)? Why should theie le such a geneial concein to con-
lat poveity? I hope it is cleai that I have no inteiest inkeeping the sulaltein
pooi. To iepeat, it is in view ol Maixs hope to tiansloin the sulaltein
whon he undeistood only as the woikei in his conunctuieinto an agent
ol the undoing ol class apaitheid iathei than its victin that this eoit at
educating the educatoi is undeitaken.
Heie aie sone ol Giddenss piactical suggestions: A post-scaicity sys-
ten is . . . a systen in which pioductivisn no longei iules,
a new ethics
ol individual and collective iesponsilility need to le loined, tiaditions
should le undeistood in a nontiaditional nannei, a pact letween the
sexes [is| . . . to le achieved, withinthe industiialized societies and ona noie
glolal levelthat hesitation letween the two levels is kin to the asynne-
tiy I an discussing in this essay and the invasive gendei woik ol the intei-
Rignting Wrcngs 537
national civil societyand, lest ol all, a new pact letween the auent
and the pooi is now needed. How is Piolessoi Giddens going to peisuade
glolal nance and woild tiade to ettison the cultuie ol econonic giowth?
The question applies to all the passages I have quoted and noie. He is, ol
couise, speaking ol state policy in Euiope, lut his look tiies to go leyond
into othei spaces: The question ienains whethei a lilestyle pact as sug-
gested heie loi the wealthy countiies could also woik when applied to the
divisions letween Noith and South. Enpiiically, one ceitainly could not
answei this question positively with any degiee ol assuiance. Analytically
speaking, howevei, one could ask, what othei possilility is theie?
Howevei utopian it night seen, it now appeais to ne that the only way
to nake these sweeping changestheie is nothing inheiently wiong with
then, and, ol couise, I give Piolessoi Giddens the lenet ol the doult
is loi those who teach in the Hunanities to take seiiously the necessaiy
lut inpossille task to constiuct a collectivity anong the dispenseis ol
lounty as well as the victins ol oppiession.
Leaining lion the sulaltein
is, paiadoxically, thiough teaching. In piactical teins, woiking acioss the
class-cultuie dieience (which tends to ieliact eoits), tiying to leain lion
childien, and lion the lehavioi ol class-inleiiois, the teachei leains to
iecognize, not ust a lenevolently coeiced assent, lut also an unexpected
iesponse. Foi such an education speed, quantity ol inloination, and nun-
lei ol students ieached aie not exclusive viitues. Those viitues aie ine-
cient loi education in the iesponsililities in the Hunanities, not so nuch
a sense ol leing iesponsille jcr, lut ol leing iesponsille tc, leloie will.
Institutionally, the Hunanities, like all disciplines, nust le sulect to a cal-
culus. It is howwe eain oui living. But wheie living has a laigei neaning,
the Hunanities aie without guaiantees.
Speaking with ieleience to the Rights ol Man and the Univeisal Declaia-
tion, I an insisting that in the Euiopean context, it used to le iecognized
that the question ol natuie as the giound ol iights nust le legged in oidei
to use it histoiically. The assunption that it is natuial to le angled towaid
the othei, leloie will, the questionol iesponsilility insuloidinate cultuies,
is also a legged question. Neithei can suivive without the othei, il it is a ust
woild that we seen to le olliged to want. Indeed, any inteiest in hunan
iights loi otheis, in hunan iights and hunan wiongs, would do lettei il
giounded in this second legged question, to iediess histoiical lalance, as
it weie, than in the appaient loigetting ol the othei one. In the leginning
aie two legged questions.
538 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
Suiely the thought ol two legged questions at the oiigin is no noie
alstiact than ]ohn Rawlss inteininalle suppositions which, when con-
lionted with the necessity ol doing sonething, cones up with such plati-
tudes as
theie will also le piinciples loi loining and iegulating ledeiations
(associations) ol peoples, and standaids ol laiiness loi tiade and othei
coopeiative aiiangenents. Theie should le ceitain piovisions loi nu-
tual assistance letween peoples in tines ol lanine and diought, and
weie it leasille, as it should le, piovisions loi ensuiing that in all iea-
sonally developed lileial societies peoples lasic needs aie net.
In the ieal woild, theie is, in geneial, a tienendously uneven contiadic-
tion letween those who leg the question ol natuie as iights loi the sell and
those who leg the question ol iesponsilility as leing called ly the othei,
leloie will.
Il we nean to place the latteipeiennial victinson the way to the
social pioductivity ol capitalas an old-lashioned Maixist I distinguish
letween cupitu| and cupitu|isn and do not say these woids iionicallywe
need to acknowledge the need loi supplenentation theie as well, iathei
than tiansloin then willy-nilly, consolidating alieady existing hieiaichies,
expoiting gendei stiuggle, ly way ol the gieed loi econonic giowth. (I have
aigued eailiei in this essay that these cultuies staited stagnating lecause
theii cultuial axionatics weie delective loi capitalisn. I have also aigued
that the socialist pioect can ieceive its ethical push not lion within itsell
lut ly supplenentation lion such axionatics. I have aigued that in theii
cuiient deciepitude the sulaltein cultuies need to le known in such a way
that we can sutuie theii ieactivated cultuial axionatics into the piinciples
ol the Enlightennent. I have aigued that socialisn lelongs to those axi-
onatics. That socialisn tuins capital loination into iedistiilution is a tiu-
It is ly this logic that supplenentation into the Enlightennent is as
nuch the possilility ol leing the agent ol the social pioductivity ol capital
as it is ol the sulectship ol hunan iights.
The geneial cultuie ol Euio-U.S. capitalisn in glolalization and eco-
nonic iestiuctuiing has conspicuously destioyed the possilility ol capi-
tal leing iedistiilutive and socially pioductive in a lioad-lased way. As I
have nentioned heie, the luidenol the ttesta ieteiiitoiializing ol the
white nans luidendoes also touch the econonic spheie. I hope I will
le loigiven a liiel digiession into that spheie as well. I have piepaied loi
Rignting Wrcngs 539
this ly desciiling the nineties as a tine ol the ie-stiuctuiing denands
ol glolalization. The ieadei is uiged to concentiate on the lack ol intel-
lectual connection letween the people at woik in the dieient spheies. I
cannot le noie than telegiaphic heie, lut it would le a nistake to leave
untouched the gieat econonic ciicuits that olten ienotely deteinine the
shots in the hunan iights spheie. I ienain anong the unalashed walking
wounded geneialist aspiiants lionthe sixties. Elsewheie, I have called this
tiansnational liteiacy.
As anintioductionto this liiel loiay into the econonic spheie, let us con-
sidei philosopheis connecting Holles withglolal goveinance, anissue that
leais on the adninistiation ol hunan iights in an econonically iestiuc-
tuied poststate woild.
The question they have asked, il the stiongei na-
tions night ieasonally lelieve theii piospects to le lettei il they ienain in
the inteinational state ol natuie, iathei than accepting sone inteinational
(lut nonalsolute) equivalent ol Holless civil soveieign . . . despite the lact
that in suppoiting it they iun the iisk, along with the weakei nations, ol
cieating a nonstei that nay well attenpt to devoui then, has no leaiing
on the institutive dieience at the oiigin ol the state ol natuie.
The quotation alove is lion the eaily eighties, when the oodgates ol
the cuiient phase ol glolalizationthe nancialization ol the glole with
the decenteied centialization ol woild tiade attendant upon the dissolu-
tion ol the Soviet Union, which in tuin allowed a lullei ow loi Inloina-
tion Technologyhad not yet leen opened. Yet the piocess had alieady
legun, thiough the newly electionied stock exchanges conlining with
what was then called post-Foidisn, enalled ly conputei technology and
the lax nachine. And Euio-U.S. thinkeis, connecting Holles with hunan
iights, weie ceitainly ignoiing the question ol the ielationship letween
natuial and civil.
The ielatively autononous cccncnic spheie ol opeiations, woiked ly
agents with conpetence iestiicted to this aiea, is explained loi the cu|turu|
sectoi ly othei kinds ol acadenic agents, iestiicted to the political spheie,
in teins ol a glolal goveinance stoiy that staited at the leginning ol the
postcolonial eia at Bietton Woods. The cultuialists then weigh in ly end-
lessly pointing out that woild naikets aie old hat. This then leeds lack into
the cultuial dieience stoiy oi the hip glolal pullic cultuie stoiy.
disciplinaiy aieas involved in this aie Social Psychology and Managenent.
The loinei gives us the nulticultuialist cultuial dieience steieotypes that
undeigiid hunan iights policy when it wishes to piotect a connunity
540 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
without individualisn against a iogue state. Cultuial Distance Studies in
Managenent ielate diiectly to the econonic spheie and glolal nance, plot-
ting the oint ventuies opened up ly neolileial econonic iestiuctuiing.
Theie is a conpendious liteiatuie on how such ventuies undeinine the
state and nove towaid the poststate woild, which lecones the olect ol
glolal goveinance. The iogue state is disciplined ly leai and piessuie
the stickwith the pionise ol econonic paitneishipthe caiiot. My piin-
cipal aigunent continues to le that a conlination ol leai and piessuie,
today suppoited ly these poweilul paiadisciplinaiy loinations piolileiat-
ing ciude theoiies ol cultuial dieience, cannot liing alout eithei lasting oi
ieal epistenic change although, acconpanied ly pullic inteiest litigation,
they nay le eective shoit-tein weapons.
Meanwhile, the seiiousness ol tiaining into the geneial cultuie is ie-
ected ly the lact that Moigan Stanley Dean Wittei, Meiiill Lynch, and
othei lig investnent conpanies aie accessing pieschooleis, childien aie
tiaining paients to nanage poitlolios. Theie is a giowing liliaiy ol looks
naking it lun loi kids to invest and giving thendetailed instiuctions how
to do so. The unquestioned assunption that to le iich is to le happy and
good is developed ly way ol nany educational excuses.
Childien aie nevei too young to stait giasping the lundanentals ol
noney nanagenent. . . . Even toddleis undeistand the concept ol
ninel In lact, its the idea ol owning sonething they like that spaiks
theii inteiest in investing. Rest assuied, you wont tuin youi child
into a little noney-giullei ly leeding that inteiest. Thiough invest-
ing youie going to teach hin noie alout iesponsilility, discipline,
delayed giatication, and even ethics than you evei thought possillel
Such a tiaining ol childien luilds itsell on the loss ol the cultuial halit
ol assuning the agency ol iesponsilility in iadical alteiity. It is lollowed
thiough ly the ielentless education into lusiness cultuie in acadenic and
on-the-ol tiaining, in nanagenent, consunei lehavioi, naiketing, pie-
paied loi ly the thousands and thousands ol lusiness schools all ovei the
glolal South as well as the Noith, tiaining undeigiaduates into lusiness
cultuie, naking the supplenentation ol the iesponsilility-lased sulaltein
layei ly the ethics ol class-cultuie dieience altogethei inpossille, consoli-
dating class apaitheid.
The Declaiationol the Right to Developnent is pait
ol such accultuiation into the novenents ol nance capital. Thiid Way talk
oats on this lase. Cultuialist suppoit is piovided on the Inteinetin look
Rignting Wrcngs 541
digests on naiket Taoisn and Aiistotle loi capitalisn.
It is piovided
in the sales piesentations ol countless teleconnunication naiketing con-
leiences. It connects to the laughing and liequent exhoitations to lollow
the noney at wonens iights neetings at the UN. We should keep all this
in nind when we give Piolessoi Giddens the lenet ol the doult.
Ethics withinthe coipoiatist calculus is also insciiledwithinthis cultuial
loination. I tean-taught a couise with Political Science in Fall zooo. Oui
gieatest piollenwas negotiating the dieience letweenethics as inagined
lion within the sell-diiven political calculus as doing the iight thing and
ethics as openness towaid the inagined agency ol the othei, iesponsilility
loi and to a tiny iadical enclave heie and, as I will aigue, a conpionised
and delegitinized conloinity theie.
Such a tiaining ol childien is also a legitination ly ieveisal ol oui own
insistence on elenentaiy pedagogy ol the iuial pooi. Supplenentation ly
the soit ol educationI antiying to desciile lecones necessaiy heie, so that
the ielationship letweenchild investois and child laloieis is not sinply one
ol iighting wiongs lion alove. How does such supplenentation woik? Il
in NewYoik, to sten the tide ol coipoiatist ethics, lusiness cultuie, appio-
piiative New Age iadicalisn, and politically coiiect nulticultuialisn, the
sulteiianean task is to supplenent the iadical iesponsilility-shaped hole
in the education ol the dispensei ol iights thiough liteiaiy ieading, and
naking use ol the Hunanities, what alout the education ol those whose
wiongs aie iighted?
Sone assunptions nust ist le laid aside. The peinealility ol glolal cul-
tuie nust le seen as iestiicted. Theie is a lack ol connunication letween
and anong the innense heteiogeneity ol the sulaltein cultuies ol the
woild. Cultuial loideis aie easily ciossed lionthe supeicial cultuial iela-
tivisn ol netiopolitan countiies, wheieas, going the othei way, the so-
called peiipheial countiies encountei luieauciatic and policed liontieis.
The liontieis ol sulaltein cultuies, which developed no geneiative pullic
iole, have no channels ol inteipenetiation. Heie, too, the piollen is not
solved in a lasting way ly the inclusion ol exceptional sulalteins in South-
lased glolal novenents with leadeiship diawn lion the descendants ol
colonial sulects, even as these netwoiks netwoik. These guies aie no
longei iepiesentative ol the sulaltein stiatun in geneial.
In zooo I visited a so-called liodiveisity lestival wheie a iuial and coun-
tiy town audience in a least-developed countiy (LDC) ioaied its deiision
at liodiveisity songs lion two neighloiing nation-states, applauding en-
542 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
thusiastically instead at enlaiiassing initations ol Bollywood (the tiade
nane ol the hugely inteinational Bonlay ln industiy) adaptations ol
nonents lion U.S. MTV, uniecognizalle ly the audience as such, ol
couise. The enlaiiassnent ol the activist leadeis, lion a colonial sulects
class lackgiound, was conpounded ly theii pullic exhoitations, which
weie oleyed ly the iuial audience as a set ol lewildeiing oideis. The histoii-
cal discontinuity leading to such events is one ol the ieasons why, although
I geneialize, ny exanple ienains singulai. On the piactical calculus, the
piollen ol the singulai and the univeisal is conlionted ly leaining lion
the singulaiity ol the singulai, a way to the inagination ol the pullic spheie,
the iational iepiesentation ol the univeisal.
We nust question the assunption that, il the sense ol doing loi the othei
is not pioduced on call lion a sense ol the sell as soveieign, packaged with
the sense ol leing ttest, the alteinative assunption, ionantic oi expe-
dient, ol an essence ol sulalteinity as the souice ol such a sense, denies
the depiadations ol histoiy. Paulo Fieiie, in his celeliated Pcdugcgy cj tnc
Opprcsscd, wiittenduiing the eia ol gueiilla wailaie inLatinAneiica, wains
us against sulalteinist essentialisn, ly ieninding us that, duiing the ini-
tial stages ol the stiuggle, the oppiessed . . . tend thenselves to lecone
In addition, in the lace ol UN Hunan Rights policy-naking, we nust le
on guaid against sulalteinist essentialisn, loth positive and negative. Il
the sell-peinission loi continuing to iight wiongs is pienised inplicitly
on the loineithey will nevei le alle to help thenselvesthe lattei noui-
ishes lalse hopes that will as suiely le dashed and lead to the sane iesult:
an unwilling conclusion that they nust always le piopped up. Indeed, in
the piesent state ol the woild, oi peihaps always and eveiywheie, sinply
hainessing iesponsilility loi accountalility in the South, checking up on
othei diiectedness, as it weie, without the peisistent tiaining, ol no guai-
antees, we iepioduce and consolidate what can only le called leudalisn,
wheie a lenevolent despot like Lee Kuan Yew can clain collectivity iathei
than individualisnwhen expedient. In the piesent state ol the woild, it also
iepioduces and consolidates gendei oppiession, thus lending plausilility to
the instant iightspeak ol the gendei lolly ol the inteinational civil society
and Bietton Woods.
Declaiations like the Bangkok NGO Declaiation, entitled Oui Voice,
andcataloging what theii iight to sell-deteinination wouldle loi Indige-
nous People in geneial,
nay, like nany UNDeclaiations, le an excellent
Rignting Wrcngs 543
tool loi political naneuveiing, lut it will not touch the entiie spectiun ol
Asian aloiiginals, each gioup as cultuially alsolutist as the iuial audience
at the liodiveisity lestival. Inoidei to nake the political naneuveiings open
to the ethical, we nust think the supplenentation towaid which we aie now
When the UN oeis violence oi the lallot as a choice it is uniealistic
lecause lased on anothei kind ol ielated nistakeunexanined univeisal-
isnthe assunption that this is a ieal choice in all situations. It will soon
lead to nilitaiy inteivention in the nane ol iighting wiong, in geopoliti-
cally specic places. Foi denociatization is not ust a code nane, as it so
olten is in piactice, loi the political iestiuctuiing entailed ly the tiansloi-
nation ol (ecient thiough inecient to wild) state capitalisns and theii
colonies to tiilutaiy econonies ol iationalized glolal nancialization. Il it
is to involve the laigest sectoi ol the electoiate in the glolal Souththe
iuial population lelow poveity levelit iequiies the undoing ol centuiies
ol oppiession, with a sutuiing education in iuial sulaltein noinality, sup-
plenenting the violent guilt and shane tiips ol disastei politics.
I oei heie a snall lut iepiesentative exanple:
I was handing out sweets, two a head, to villageis in Shahalad, Biilhun.
Sone ol the schools I desciile latei aie located in this aiea. These villages
have no caste-Hindu inhalitants. Sweets ol this cooked tiaditional vaiiety,
that have to le lought lion the Hindu villages, aie leyond the villageis
neans. Theie aie no candy stoies in eithei type ol village. Distiilution
ol sweets is a lestive gestuie, lut it nakes ny Calcutta-lied intellectual-
leltist soul slightly uneasy. I have leained such lehavioi in ny decades-long
appienticeship in these aieas.
A young nan in his eaily thiities, geneially consideied a novei and a
shakei anong this paiticulai ethnic gioupthe Dhekaios, stiaddling the
aloiiginal-untouchalle dividewas opening the insy papei loxes that
swanin syiup in insiei polythene lags, as I kept dipping ny hand.
denly he nuinuied, Outsideis aie coning in, one a piece now. I thought
the piollenwas nunleis and changed to one, a lit sad lecause theie weie
now noie childien. Suddenly, the guy said in ny eai, give hei two, shes
one ol ouis. Shocked, I quickly tuined to hin, and said, in iapid nonotone
Bengali, Dont say such things in liont ol childien, and then, Il I should say
youie not one ol ouis? Since In a caste-Hindu and technically one ol his
This is the seedled ol ethnic violence in its lowest-connon
You can ll in the histoiical naiiative, iaise oi lowei the degiee ol
544 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
the heat ol violence. Punishing Milosevic is good, hunan iights piessuie
and guilt and shane tiips on iogue states should continue, I suppose, lut
it is on giounds such as this that violence lesteis. This nan is quite awaie
ol paity politics, the CPM (Connunity Paity Maixist) is stiong heie. He
ceitainly casts his vote iegulaily, peihaps even iallies voteis loi the paity.
The two sentinentsist, ol ethnic gioup conpetition within a coiiupt
quota systen in the iestiuctuied state as iesouices dwindle, and, second,
ol the intuition ol a nultipaity pailianentaiy denociacy as a species ol
geneially honosocial conpetitive spoit with the highest stakes availalle
to playeis in the inpoveiished iuial sectoiviolence and the lallotcan
coexist in a volatile ielationship, one ieady to le nolilized ovei the othei,
oi even in the otheis inteiest. This is why the UNs choicelallot lox cr
peace-keeping nissionis uniealistic. I will considei an answei ly way
ol a digiession into sutuiing iights thinking into the toin cultuial laliic ol
iesponsilility, oi, to vaiy the concept-netaphoi, activating a doinant ethi-
cal inpeiative.
Suloidinate cultuies ol iesponsililitya heuiistic geneialization as pie-
caiious as geneializations alout the doninant cultuielase the agency
ol iesponsilility in that outside ol the sell that is also in the sell, hall-
aichived and theieloie not diiectly accessille. I use the woid subcrdinutc
heie lecause, as I have leen aiguing thioughout this essay, they aie the
iecipients ol hunan iights lounty, which I see as the luiden ol the ttest,
and which, as I insist lionthe ist page on down, has the unbivu|cnt stiuc-
tuie ol enalling violation that anyone ol goodwill associates with the white
nans luiden. I will iely on this aigunent loi this second pait ol ny essay,
which conceins itsell with the dieient way in to the danaged epistene.
Fionthe anthiopological point ol view, gioups suchas the Salais and the
Dhekaios nay le seen to have a closely knit social textuie. But I have leen
uiging a dieient point ol view thiough ny concept-netaphoi ol sutui-
ing. These gioups aie also in the histoiical piesent ol state and civil society.
(Hunan iights punishes the lattei in the nane ol the Enlightennent.) I
an asking ieadeis to shilt theii peiception lion the anthiopological to the
histoiico-political and see the sane knit text-ile as a toin cultuial laliic
in teins ol its ienoval lion the doninant loon in a histoiical nonent.
That is what it neans to le a sulaltein. My point so lai has leen that, loi a
long tine now, these cultuial sciipts have not leen allowed to woik except
as a delegitinized loin loicilly out ol touch with the doninant thiough
a histoiy that has taken capital and enpiie as telos. My geneialization is
Rignting Wrcngs 545
theieloie piecaiious, though denonstialle il the eoit I go on to desciile
is shaied. These concept-netaphois, ol sutuiing a toin laliic, ol iecoding
a delegitinized cultuial loination, aie ciucial to the entiie second hall ol
ny aigunent.
Suloidinate cultuies ol iesponsilility, then, lase the agency ol iesponsi-
lility inthat outside ol the sell that is also inthe sell, hall-aichivedandtheie-
loie not diiectly accessille. Sucha sentence nay seenopaque to (Chiistian-
ized) seculaiists who inagine ethics as inteinalized inpeiatives, they nay
seen silly to the oidinaiy language tiadition that nust iesolutely ignoie
the paits ol the nind not accessille to ieason in oidei to theoiize.
It nay
le uselul to think ol the aichived exteiioiity, in teins ol youi unnediated
knowledge, ol the inside ol youi lody. The geneial pienise ol the Oxloid
Annesty seiies the Genetic Revolution and Hunan Rights, loi exanple,
was that genes aie digitalized woids that aie diiving oui lodies, oui selves.
Yet they aie inaccessille to us as olects and instiunents ol knowledge,
insolai as we aie sentient leings. (A snait ieadei nistook this as alteiity
leing thoioughly inteiioiized. My exhoitation is to tiy to think otheiwise
that theie is an othei spaceoi sciipt, all analogies aie lalse heiein the
sell, which diives us.) Think also ol oui cieative invention in the languages
that we knowwell. The languages have histoiies leloie us, and lutuies altei
us. They aie outside us, in giannai looks and dictionaiies.
Yet the lan-
guages that we knowand nake in aie also us, and in us. These aie analogies
loi agency that is out ol us lut inusand, like all analogies, inpeilect, lut I
hope they will suce loi now. In iesponsilility-lased suloidinate cultuies
the volatile space ol iesponsilility can le giasped thiough these analogies,
peihaps. Please note, In not suggesting that they aie lettei, ust that they
aie dieient, and this iadically dieient paiiiights and iesponsilility
need to ielate in the hollled ielationship ol supplenentation.
These aie only analogies, to le lound in an Oxloid Annesty seiies collec-
tionand inSaussuie. They woik inthe lollowing way: il we cangiasp that all
hunanleings aie genetically wiittenleloie will, and il we cangiasp that all
hunanchildienaccess a language that is outside, as nothei-tongue, then,
on these stiuctuial nodels, we night giasp the assunption that the hunan
leing is hunan in answei to an outside call. We can giasp the stiuctuie
ol the iole ol alteiity at woik in suloidinate cultuies, ly way ol these analo-
gies. The woid bcjcrc in leloie the will is heie used to nean logical and
chionological piioiity as well as in liont ol. The dieience is histoiical,
not essential. It is lecause I lelieve that iight[iesponsilility can le shaied
546 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
ly eveiyone in the peisistent node ol to cone that I keep insisting on
supplenental pedagogy, on loth sides.
In its stiuctuie, the denitive piedication ol leing-hunan ly alteiity is
not with ieleience to an enpiiical outside woild. ]ust as I cannot play with
ny own genes oi access the entiie linguisticity ol ny nothei tongue, so is
the piesuned alteiity iadical in the geneial sense. Ol couise it lleeds into
the naiiow sense ol accountalility to the outside woild, lut its anchoi is
in that inagined alteiity that is inaccessille, olten tianscendentalized and
loinalized (as indeed is natuial lieedon in the iights canp.)
I need not le noie specic heie. The suloidinate sulaltein is as diveisi-
ed as the iecipients ol Hunan Rights activity. I need not nake too nany
distinctions. Foi they aie tied ly a Univeisal Declaiation.
Anticipating olections to this stopping shoit ol distinction and specici-
ties, I should peihaps say once again that, il these people lecane ny olect
ol investigation loi disciplinaiy inloination ietiieval as such, I would not
le alle to ienain locused on the childien as ny teacheis. Theie is nothing
vague alout this activity. Since this is the cential insight ol ny essay, the
ieadei will, I leai, have to take it oi leave it. This is the dieient way ol episte-
nic access, this the teacheis appienticeship as sutuiei oi invisille nendei,
this the seciet ol ongoing pedagogic supplenentation. Wiiting this piece
has alnost convinced ne that I was coiiect in thinking that this dieient
way was too in situ to tiavel, that I should not nake it pait ol ny acadenic
discouise. And yet theie is no othei news that I can liing to Annesty Intei-
national undei the auspices ol Hunan Rights.
Rewiiting Levinas, Luce Iiigaiay called loi an ethics ol sexual dieience
inthe eaily eighties.
That lashionindoninant leninist theoiy is nowpast.
But the uselulness ol the nodel does not disappeai with a lad. Call this sup-
plenentation an ethics ol class-cultuie dieience, then: ielating ienotely,
in view ol a lutuie to cone, the dispenseis ol iights with the victins ol
With this pioviso, let us considei an exanple ol why we need to sutuie
iights thinking into the toin cultuial laliic ol iesponsilility, oi, to vaiy the
concept-netaphoi, activate a doinant ethical inpeiative. I will give only the
laie lones.
Activists lionthe institutionally educated classes ol the geneial national
cultuie wina state-level legal victoiy against police liutality ovei the tiilals.
They tiy to tiansloin this into a national-level legal awaieness
Rignting Wrcngs 547
The iuling paity suppoits the activists on the state level. (India is a led-
eiation ol states. The national level is not involved heie.) The iuling paity
on the local level is geneially less answeialle to the state piecisely lecause
ol the discontinuity lion the giass ioots that I have leen insisting upon
all along. Indeed, this alsence ol iediess without ienote nediation is what
nakes the sulaltein sulaltein. On the local level the police ol the iuling
paity consistently take ievenge against what is peiceived as a victoiy ovei
theii paity ly taking advantage ol thiee lactois, one positive, two negative:
. The ielatively honogeneous doninant Hindu cultuie at the village
level keeps the tiilal cultuially isolated thiough pieudice.
z. As a iesult ol this cu|turu| isolation, wonens independence anong
the tiilals has ienained intact. It has not leeninlected ly the tiadition
ol wonens oppiession within the geneial Hindu iuial cultuie.
. Pc|iticu||y, the geneial, supposedly honogeneous iuial cultuie and
the tiilal cultuie shaie a lack ol denociatic tiaining.
This is a iesult ol poveity and class pieudice existing nationally. Theieloie,
votes can le lought and sold heie, and electoial conict is tieated ly iuial
society in geneial like a conpetitive spoit wheie violence is legitinate.
Locally, since the legal victoiy ol the netiopolitan activists against the
police, the iuling paity has taken advantage ol these thiee things ly iewiit-
ing wonens conict as paity politics.
To divide the tiilal connunity
against itsell, the police have used an incidental quaiiel anong tiilal
wonen, alout the thelt ol a licycle, il I ienenlei iight. One side has leen
encouiaged to piess chaiges against the othei. The delending laction has
leen wooed and won ly the opposition paity. Thus a situation ol violent
conict has leen laliicated, wheie the police have an innediate edge ovei
eveiy one, and since the legal victoiy in ienote Calcutta is theie altei all,
police ievenge takes the loinol luithei teiioi. In the alsence ol tiaining in
electoial denociacy, the aloiiginal connunity has accepted police teiioi
as pait ol the paity spiiit: this is howelectoial paities ght, wheie electoial
has no intellectual ustication. This is a diiect consequence ol the edu-
cated activistsanong whonI count nysellgood heaited lionalove
eoit at constitutional iediess, since at the giassioots level it can only le
undeistood as a deleat ly police and paity.
I an not asking that the wonen le lelt alone to ouiish in sone piis-
tine tiilality. I analso not speaking alout howto stop wonens oppiessionl
The police aie iuial Hindus, the aloiiginals aie a snall, disenlianchised
548 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
gioup, the situation is class-iace-state powei wiitten into the caste systen.
Teaching is ny solution, the nethod is pedagogic attention, to leain the
weave ol the toin laliic in unexpected ways, in oidei to sutuie the two,
not alteiing gendei politics lion alove. As loi gendei, I hope the paien-
thesis lelow will show why eveiything cannot le squeezed into this iela-
tively shoit piece. I an suggesting that hunan iights activisn should le
supplenented ly an education that should sutuie the halits ol denociacy
onto the eailiei cultuial loination. I an the only peison within this activ-
ist gioupoiganized now as a tax-shelteied nonpiot oiganizationwho
thinks that the ieal eoit should le to access and activate the tiilals indige-
nous denociatic stiuctuies to pur|iuncntury denociacy ly patient and
sustained eoits to leain to leain lionlelow. Activutc is the key woid heie.
Theie is no tight cultuial laliic (as opposedto gioupsolidaiity) anong these
disenlianchised gioups altei centuiies ol oppiession and neglect. Anthio-
pological excavation loi desciiption is not the goal heie. (I ienain suspi-
cious ol acadenic golden-agisn lion the colonial sulect.) I an not alle to
give scholaily inloination. Woiking hands-on with teacheis and students
ovei long peiiods ol tine on theii own teins without thinking ol pioduc-
ing inloination loi ny acadenic peeis is like leaining a language to le
alle to pioduce in it lieely . . . [and theieloie| to nove in it without ienen-
leiing lack to the language iooted and planted in [ne, indeed| loigetting
As I nentioned eailiei, I do not usually wiite alout this activity, at all.
Yet it seens necessaiy to nake the point when asked to speak on hunan
iights, lecause this is a typical wake ol a hunan iights victoiy. The ieadei
is invited to oin in the eoit itsell. In the neantine I ienain a consensus
lieakei anong netiopolitan activists, who leel they can know eveiything
in a nonvague way il only they have enough inloination, and that not to
think so is nystical. The consensually united vanguaid is nevei patient.
This naiiative denonstiates that when the hunan iights connissions,
local, national, oi inteinational, iight state teiioiisn, police liutality, oi
gendei violence in such iegions, the punishing victoiy is won in ielatively
ienote couits ol law.
Cathaiine A. MacKinnon desciiles this well: The loltiest legal al-
stiacts . . . aie loin . . . anid the inteicouise ol paiticulai gioups, in the
piesunptive ease ol the deciding classes, thiough the tiauna ol specic
atiocities, at the expense ol the silent and excluded, as a victoiy (usually
conpionised, olten pyiihic) loi the poweiless.
In the alteinath ol vic-
toiy, unless theie is constant vigilance (a piessuie that is itsell a species
Rignting Wrcngs 549
ol teiioi), the veiy loices ol teiioi, liutality, oi violence that suei a pullic
deleat, olten cone lack to divide and oppiess the connunity even luithei.
Il the connunity ghts lack, it does so ly the old iules ol violence. The
dispensation ol ustice, the iighting ol wiongs, the iestoiation ol hunan
iights, is ieduced to a pattein ol alyssal ievenge and[oi, at lest, a spiiit
ol litigious llacknail, ij the gioup that has leen helped has a stiong con-
nection to the iegional hunan iights agencies oi connissions (the doni-
nant piessuie gioups desciiled as lelow), which is ly no neans always the
case. Legal awaieness seninais, altogethei salutaiy inthenselves, canexac-
eilate the piollen without the painstaking loundational pedagogy which
piepaies the sulect ol iights lion childhood and lion within a disenlian-
chised cultuie ol iesponsilility. And, il we get away lionsuchienote aieas,
hunan iights dependency can le paiticulaily vicious in theii neocolonial
consequences il it is the state that is the agency ol teiioi and the Euio-U.S.
that is the savioi.
(Incidentally, this naiiative also denonstiates that Caiole Patenans in-
valualle insight, that the social contiact piesupposed the sexual contiact,
has histoiical vaiiations that nay not always ustily the Euiocentiisn that
is the olvious chaiacteiistic ol even ncr liilliant look.
On the othei hand,
today the histoiy ol donination and exploitation has ieduced the geneial
pictuie, especially in the clients ol hunan iights inteivention, to a uni-
loinity that nay ustily Patenans ienaik: Only the postulate ol natu-
ial equality pievents the oiiginal [Euiopean| social contiact lion leing an
explicit slave contiact. Even so liiel a hint ol this histoiicized and uneven
dialectic letween past and piesent suiely nakes it cleai that leninists nust
think ol a dieient kind ol diveisied itineiaiy loi teasing out the ielation-
ship letween hunan iights and wonens iights iathei than cultuial con-
seivatisn, politically coiiect golden agisn, oi iuthless-to-lenevolent Euio-
centiisn. The sutuiing aigunent that I will elaloiate lelowdevelops in the
histoiical dieience letween the ist two sentences ol this paienthesis.)
Even il the innense laloi ol lollow-up investigation on a case-ly-case
lasis is stieanlined in oui eia ol teleconnunication, it will not change the
epistenic stiuctuie ol the dyslunctional iesponsilility-lased connunity,
upon whon iights have leen thiust lion alove. It will neithei alleviate
the ieign ol teiioi noi undo the pattein ol dependency. The iecipient ol
hunan iights lounty whon I have desciiled alove, an agent ol countei-
teiioiisn and litigious llacknail at the giassioots, will continue not to
iesenlle the ego ideal inplied ly the Enlightennent and the UDHR. As
550 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
long as ieal equalization thiough iecoveiing and tiaining the long-ignoied
ethical inagination ol the iuial pooi and indeed, all species ol sulpioletaii-
ans on theii own teinsis not pait ol the agenda to cone, she oi he has
no chance ol leconing the sulect ol hunan iights as pait ol a collectivity,
lut nust ienain, loievei, its olect ol lenevolence. We will loievei heai
in the news, local to glolal, how these people cannot nanage when they
aie lelt to nanage on theii own, and the new inpeiialisn, with an at lest
enlaiiassed social Daiwinist lase, will get its peinanent sanction.
The seventh aiticle ol the Declaiation ol the Rights ol Man and ol the
Citizen, lollowing eighteenth-centuiy Euiopean iadical thought, says that
the law is an expiession ol the will ol the connunity.
Anong the iuial
pooi ol the glolal South, one nay attenpt, thiough that species ol educa-
tion without guaiantees, to liing alout a situation wheie the law can le
inagined as the expiession ol a connunity, always to cone. Otheiwise the
spiiit ol hunan iights lawis conpletely out ol theii unnediated ieach. The
tiaining in liteiaiy ieading in the netiopolis is heie piacticed, il you like,
in oidei to pioduce a situation, in the node ol to cone, wheie it can le
acknowledged that iecipiocally iecognized iating [to acknowledge a coiie-
sponding integiity in the othei| is a condition without which no civil undei-
taking is possille.
The supplenentaiy nethod that I will go on to outline does not sug-
gest that hunan iights inteiventions should stop. It does not even oei the
inpiactical suggestion that the hunan iights activists thenselves should
take tine to leain this nethod. Given the nunlei ol wiongs all the woild
ovei, those who iight then nust le inpatient. I an naking the piactical
suggestion loi ceitain kinds ol hunanities teacheis, heie and theie, dias-
poiics wishing to undo the delinking with the glolal South iepiesented ly
inpatient lenevolence, second-geneiation colonial sulects dissatised ly
the divided postcolonial polity. (This is not to linit the ieadeiship ol this
essay, ol couise. Anyone can do what I an pioposing.) Only, whoevei it is
nust have the patience and peiseveiance to leain well one ol the languages
ol the iuial pooi ol the South. This, I hope, will set then apait lion the
inplicit connection letween woild goveinance and the sell-styled inteina-
tional civil society. (Alout this last, I an wiiting elsewheie.)
Onc ol the languages. Foi the puiposes ol the essential and possille
woik ol iighting wiongsthe political calculusthe gieat Euiopean lan-
guages aie sucient. But loi access to the sulaltein epistene to devise a
sutuiing pedagogy, you nust take into account the nultiplicity ol sulaltein
Rignting Wrcngs 551
This is lecause the task ol the educatoi is to leain to leain lionlelow, the
lines ol conict iesolution undoultedly availalle, howevei doinant, within
the disenlianchised cultuial systen, giving up convictions ol tiiunphalist
supeiioiity. It is lecause ol the linguistic iestiiction that one is olliged to
speak ol ust the gioups one woiks loi, lut, inthe hope that these woids will
le iead ly sone who aie inteiested in conpaialle woik elsewheie, I an
always pushing loi geneialization. The tiainei ol teacheis will nd the sys-
ten dyslunctional and coiiupted, niied in iitual, like a cleai pond choked
with scun. Foi theii cultuial axionatics as well as theii alieady suloidi-
nated position did not tianslate into the eneigence ol nascent capitalisn.
We aie now teaching oui childien in the Noith, and no doult in the Noith
ol the South, that to leain the novenent ol nance capital is to leain social
iesponsilility. It is in the ienote oiigins ol this convictionthat capitalisn
is iesponsililitythat we night locate the leginning ol the lailuie ol the
aloiiginal gioups ol the kind I andesciiling: theii entiy into (a distancing
lion) nodeinity as a giadual slipping into atiophy.
This histoiy lieeds the need loi activating an ethical inpeiative atio-
phied ly giadual distancing lion the naiiative ol piogiesscolonialisn[
capitalisn. This is the aigunent alout cultuial sutuiing, leaining lion
lelow to supplenent with the possilility ol the sulectship ol iights.
Now I go lack to ny lioadei aigunenta new pedagogy. The national
educationsystens aie pietty hopeless at this level lecause they aie the detii-
tus ol the postcolonial state, the colonial systen tuined to iote, unpioduc-
tive ol lelicitous colonial sulects like ouiselves, at hone oi alioad. This
is pait ol what staited the iotting ol the cultuial laliic ol which I speak.
Theieloie, I annot ust asking that they should have the kind ol education
we have had. The need loi supplenenting netiopolitan educationthe
kind ol education we have hadis sonething I an involved in eveiy day
in ny salaiied woik. And when I say iote, I an not speaking ol the lact
that a student night swot as a quick way to do well in an exan. I an speak-
ing ol the scandal that, in the glolal South, in the schools loi niddle-class
childien and alove, the lelicitous piinaiy use ol a page ol language is to
undeistand it, lut in the schools loi the pooi, it is to spell and nenoiize.
Considei the lollowing, the vicissitudes ol a local eoit undeitaken in
the niddle ol the nineteenthcentuiy: Iswaichandia Baneiee, lettei known
as Iswaichandia Vidyasagai, a nineteenth-centuiy pullic intellectual lion
iuial Bengal, was twenty when Macaulay wiote his Minute on Indian Edu-
cation. He lashioned pedagogic instiunents loi Sanskiit and Bengali that
could, il used iight (the question ol teaching, again), sutuie the native old
552 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
withMacaulays newiathei thanieect the old and connence its stagnation
with that lanous and hoiiille sentence: A single shell ol a good Euiopean
liliaiy [is| woith the whole native liteiatuie ol India and Aialia.
Vidyasagais Bengali piinei is still used in state-iun piinaiy schools in
iuial West Bengal.
It is a nodeinizing instiunent loi teaching. It activates
the stiuctuial neatness ol the Sanskiitic Bengali alphalet loi the teachei
and the child, and undeinines iote leaining ly encouiaging the teachei to
unlle the stiuctuie in the couise ol teaching at the sane tine. The wheie-
withal is all theie, lut no one knows (how) to use it any noie.
The ist pait ol the look is loi the active use ol the teachei. The child
does not iead the look yetust listens to the teachei, and leains to iead
and wiite ly ieading the teacheis wiiting and wiiting as the teachei guides.
Reading and wiiting aie not soldeied to the letishized schoollook. In veiy
pooi iuial aieas, with no looks oi newspapeis anywheie, this is still a ne
way to teach. (Il you have leenstunped a hundied tines ina lot ol places ly
loth teachei and student pioducing sone nenoiized lit lionthe textlook
when asked to wiite whatevei cones to nind, you aie convinced ol this.)
Hallway thiough the look, the child legins to iead a look, and the title ol
that page is prctncn putn, ist ieading, not ist lesson. What a thiill it
nust have leen loi the child, undoultedly a loy, to get to that nonent.
Today this is inpossille, lecause the teacheis, and the teacheis teacheis,
indenitely, aie clueless alout this look as a do-it-youisell instiunent.
Well-neaning education expeits in the capital city, whose childien aie used
to a dieient woild, inspiied ly sell-ethnogiaphing louigeois nationalists
ol a peiiod altei Vidyasagai, have tiansloined the teacheis pages into chil-
diens pages ly way ol ill-conceived illustiations (see next page).
In the iuial aieas this neaningless gestuie has consolidated the look as
an instiunent loi dull iote leaining. The page wheie Vidyasagai encoui-
ages the teachei to unlle the stiuctuie is nowa neaningless page ioutinely
ignoied. I could nultiply exanples such as this, and not in India alone.
Most ol the suloidinate languages ol the woild do not have sinple single-
language dictionaiies that iuial childien could use. Eoits to put togethei
such a dictionaiy in Bengali lailed in lalse pionises and ied tape. The halit
ol independence in a childs nind staits with the alility to locate neaning
without a teachei. Il the dictionaiy weie put togethei ly the kind ol well-
neaning expeits who put togethei the pictuies in the piinei, it would le
geaied loi the wiong audience.
The geneializalle signicance ol this case is that, at the onset ol colo-
554 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
nialisn[capitalisn, when the indigenous systen ol teaching legan to le
enptied out ol social ielevance, theie had leen an attenpt to undo this.
The discontinuity letween the colonial sulect and the iuial pooi is such
that the instiunents ol such undoing weie thoughtlessly deactivated. (This
ielates to the concept-netaphoi ol activation that I an using in this pait ol
the essay.) The netiopolitanspecialist has no sense ol the pedagogic signi-
cance ol the instiunents. My discoveiy ol the specic pattein ol the piinei
was a ievelation that cane altei eight yeais ol involvenent with using the
piinei. Since I do not consolidate instiuction loi the teachei except in
iesponse to a lelt need, it was only then that I was letting the teachei at one
school take down hints as to howto teach the students at the lowest level. As
I continued, I iealized the piinei had pieenpted ne at eveiy stepl I hope
the inpatient ieadei will not take this to le ust anothei anecdote alout
pooi instiuction. And I hope I have nade it cleai ly now, in spite ol all the
conlusion attendant upon stiaying lion the leaten tiack, that the piactice
ol elenentaiy pedagogy loi the childien ol the iuial pooi is one ol ny nain
weapons, howevei hunlle.
The inteileience ol the state can also le a ciuel negligence. This is the
point ol the lollowing stoiy. I have included two peisonal details to show
how caste politics, gendei politics, and class politics aie inteitwined in the
detail. These details aie typical.
Each ol the iuial schools ol which I speak has a tule well. This piovides
clean watei loi the entiie gioup. Neai two ol these schools the tule well is
lioken. The aloiiginals cannot nend it loi the sane ieason that the netio-
politan niddle class cannot do these iepaii ols. They aie not used to it and
Hone Depot hasnt hit yet.
One ol ny lellowstudents in college occupies a leading position in a pei-
tinent ninistiy on the state level. I ienewed contact with this nan altei
thiity-one yeais, in his oce in Calcutta, to ask loi tule wells. Not only did
I not get tule wells altei two tiips sepaiated ly a yeai, lut I heaid thiough
the iunoi nill that, as a iesult ol his loasting alout ny visit, his wile had
disclosed in pullic, at a paity, that she had conplained to his nothei alout
oui ancient liiendshipl
A neai ielative in the next geneiation, whon I had not seen lut liiey
when he was an adolescent, held a leading adninistiative position on the
distiict level. I got an appointnent with hin, again to leg loi the tule wells.
I did not get then. But he did tell ne that he was in line loi a lellowship
at the Kennedy School. Wheie the inliastiuctuie loi the piinaiy education
Rignting Wrcngs 555
ol the pooi seens negligille even in the line ol ocial duty, loasting alout
ones own spectaculai oppoitunities loi highei education seens peilectly
plausille: inteinalized axionatics ol class apaitheid. I use the detail to point
at a peivasive piollen.
The Hindu villageis insulted a loy who went to letch watei lionthe tule
well in the nain village. At night, the oldest wonan was alout to go get
watei undei covei. We sat togethei in hei kitchen and loiled a pot ol watei.
The next noining, the teachei in the school could not piove that the stu-
dents had leained anything. She is a young Hindu widow lion the village,
who has lailed hei Secondaiy School leaving exan. As a iuial Hindu, she
cannot diink watei touched ly the aloiiginals, hei students. As I kept leiat-
ing hei, one ol these veiy students spoke upl (She loves the students, hei not
diinking watei lion theii hands is inteinalized ly then as noinal, nuch
less alsuidthanny diinking hot loiledwatei. Onhei pait, going lack to the
village eveiy alteinoon, keeping the watei-iule, which she knows I alhoi,
conpaies to ny standing in the snow loi six houis to ieplace ny stolen
gieen caid, I latei thought.)
The student spoke up to say that all lut thiee in the school had acconpa-
nied theii paients east, and so had not cone to school loi nonths. Going
east: nigiant laloi.
]ust as not iepaiiing tule wells is taken as piool ol theii lecklessness,
taking theii childien on these ouineys is seen as piool that they dont know
the value ol education. These aie oial tiadition lolks loi whon ieal edu-
cation takes place in the loson ol the lanily. By what alsuid logic would
they giaduate instantly into a niddle-class undeistanding ol sonething
so counteiintuitive as the value ol education? Such lectuies pioduce the
kind ol quick-x legal awaienessstyle lectuies whose eects aie at lest
supeicial, lut satislying loi the activists, until the eiiyluilt edice lieaks
down. Whenthe connunity was addiessed with synpathy, with the explicit
undeistanding that lehind this ienoval ol the students lion school lay
love and iesponsilility, sone childien weie allowed to stay lehind next
yeai. When I spoke ol this way ol dealing with alsenteeisn to the one
hundied so-called iuial teacheis (stupid statistics) sulsidized ly the cen-
tial goveinnent, one ol the pieudice-iidden iuial Hindu unenployed who
had suddenly lecone a teachei advised nenot knowing that this elite
city peison knew what she was talking aloutthat the extended aloiigi-
nal connunity would olect to the expendituie ol leeding these childien.
Nonsense, ol couise, and pieudice, not unknown in the native inloinant.
556 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
When I saw that the thiee students who had not gone east weie doing
ne, and that a yeai had gone ly without tule wells, I said to then, wiite a
lettei. Anothei student, sitting lack, looked so eagei to wiite that I let hei
cone loiwaid as well. Each one give a sentence, I said, I will not pionpt
you. Heie is what they wiote:
I told then the seciet ol alphaletization. They successlully alphaletized
theii ist nanes. My second visit to this nans oce, the souice ol the piuii-
ent paity gossip in Calcutta, was to delivei the lettei, in vain.
I have coveied the place nanes lecause we do not want a tule well lion
a ienote inteinational oi national philanthiopic souice. The wateis get-
ting loiled loi ne. They aie diinking well watei. We want the childien to
leain alout the heaitlessness ol adninistiations, without shoit-tein iesis-
Rignting Wrcngs 557
tance talk. The lounty ol sone U.S. lenelactoi would le the shaip end ol
the wedge that pioduces a geneial will loi exploitation in the sulaltein.
Mututis nutundis, I go with W. E. B. DuBois iathei than Bookei T. Wash-
ington: it is noie inpoitant to develop a ciitical intelligence than to assuie
innediate nateiial conloit.
This nay oi nay not leai innediate liuit.
Let ne iepeat, yet once again, although I leai I will not convince the lenevo-
lent ethnocentiist, that I an not inteiested in teaching sell-help. I an
inteiested in leing a good enough hunanities teachei in oidei to le a ccn-
duit (Woidswoiths woid) letween sulaltein childien and theii sulaltein
teacheis. That is ny connection with DuBois, who wiites a good deal alout
teachei tiaining.
The teacheis on this giound level at which we woik tend to le the least
successlul pioducts ol a lad systen. Oui educatoi nust leain to tiain teach-
eis ly attending to the childien. Foi ust as oui childien aie not loin elec-
tionic, theii childien aie not loin delegitinized. They aie not yet least
successlul. It is thiough leaining how to take childiens iesponse to teach-
ing as oui teaching text that we can hope to put ouiselves in the way ol
activating denociatic stiuctuies.
And it is to distinguish letweenactivating and pioducing good desciip-
tive inloination loi peeis (the appiopiiate liiel loi an essay such as this)
that I should like to point at the dieience letween Melanie Klein and ]ean
Piaget. Attending to childien, Kleins way ol speaking had tuined into a
kind ol sulline liteialness, wheie the netaphoi is as liteial as ieality itsell.
In oidei to esh out Fieuds intuitions alout childien, Klein leained hei
systen lion the childien thenselves. Hei wiitings aie piactical guides to
people who wished to leain that language. That, too, is to leain to leain
lion lelow.
By contiast, all the condent conclusions ol Piaget and his collaloia-
tois in Tnc Mcru| ]udgncnt cj Cni|drcn would le nessed up il the investiga-
tois had leen olliged to inseit thenselves into and engage with the value-
systen the childien inhalited. Piaget is too shaip not to know this. It is
one thing to piove that coopeiation in the play and spontaneous social lile
ol childien liings alout ceitain noial eects, he concludes,
and anothei to estallish the lact that this coopeiation can le univei-
sally applied as a nethod ol education. This last point is one which
only expeiinental education can settle. . . . But the type ol expeiinent
which such ieseaich would iequiie can only le conducted ly teacheis
558 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
oi ly the conlined eoits ol piactical woikeis and educational psy-
chologists. And it is not in oui powei to deduce the iesults to which
this would lead.
The eoit at education that I andesciilingpeihaps conpaialle to Pia-
gets desciiption ol piactical woikeisthe teacheisand educational
psychologistthe tiaineiswith the ioles pioductively conlused eveiy
step ol the wayhopes against hope that a peinanent sanction ol the social
Daiwinisnthe luiden ol the ttestinplicit in the Hunan Rights
agenda will, peihaps, le halted il the thieads ol the toin cultuial laliic aie
teased out ly the uncanny patience ol which the Hunanities aie capalle at
theii lest, loi the activation ol doinant stiuctuies.
Indeed, this is the Hunanities conponent, attending upon the olect
ol investigation as othei, in all laloi. Heie is the denitive nonent ol a
Hunanities to cone, in the seivice ol a Hunan Rights, that peisistently
undoes the asynnetiy in oui title Hunan Rights, HunanWiongs ly the
uncoeicive ieaiiangenent ol desiies in teins ol the teaching text desciiled
eailiei in this essay.
The Gieek poet Aichilochus is supposed to have wiitten the lox knows
nany things, lut the hedgehog knows one lig thing. This distinction le-
tweentwo types ol thinkeis was developed ly IsaiahBeilininto the idea that
lox-thinkeis aie lascinated ly the vaiiety ol things, and hedgehog-thinkeis
ielate eveiything to an all-enliacing systen.
My expeiience ol leaining lion childien loi the last decade tells ne
that nuituiing the capacity to inagine the pullic spheie and the losteiing
ol independence within chosen iule-goveinance is the hedgehogs deni-
tion ol denociacy, which will lest natch the weave ol the toin yet loxy
laliicgieat vaiiety ol detailol the cultuie long neglected ly the doni-
nant. The tiick is to tiain the teacheis ly neans ol such intuitions, uncoei-
cively ieaiianging tncir (nost olten unexanined) desiies loi specic kinds
ol lutuies loi the childien. No nean tiick, loi these teacheis have leen so
nained ly the veiy systen ol education we aie tiying to conlat, and aie
so nuch within the class apaitheid pioduced ly it, that they would llindly
agiee and oley, while the tiainei was enoting ovei consciousness-iaising.
Gieat tact is called loi il the eoit is to diaw loith consent iathei than ole-
dience. In addition, the childien have to le ciitically piepaied loi disin-
genuously oeied cyleiliteiacy il these gioups get on the loop ol develop-
The hope is that this eoit with the tcucncrs will tianslate into the
Rignting Wrcngs 559
teaching ol these ieexes in the educational nethod ol the childien who
launch tnc truincr on the path ol the hedgehog. The childien aie the lutuie
electoiate. They need to le taught the halits and ieexes ol such deno-
ciatic lehavioi. Do you see why I call this necessaiy and inpossille? As I
ienaiked alout Hunanities teaching, you cannot gauge this one.
To sutuie thus the toin and weak iesponsilility-lased systen into a con-
ception ol hunan dignity as the enoynent ol iights one enteis iitual piac-
tice tiansgiessively, alas, as a hackei enteis soltwaie. The desciiption ol
iitual-hacking lelow nay seen silly, peihaps. But put youisell on the long
ioad wheie you cun tiy it, and you will iespect usyou will not disniss as
nothing lut this oi that appioach on papei. Insolai as this hacking is like
a weaving, this, too, is an exeicise in tccrc, textil-ity, text-ing, textuality. I
nust continue to iepeat that ny enphasis is on the diculties ol this text-
ing, the piactical pedagogy ol it, not in devising the nost loolpiool theoiy
ol it loi you, ny peeis. Without the iteiative text ol doing and devising in
silence, the desciiption seens eithei nuiky oi lanal.
Suloidinate cultuial systens aie cieative in the invention ol iitual in
oidei to keep a ceitain hieiaichical oidei lunctioning. With the help ol the
childien and the connunity, the tiainei nust inagine the task ol iecoding
the iitual-to-oidei halits ol the eailiei systenwith the iitual-to-oidei halits
ol pailianentaiy denociacy, with a teaching coips whose idea ol education
is unloitunately pioduced ly a teiiille systen. One leains active iitual as
one leains nanneis. The lest exanple loi the ieadeiship ol this anthology
night le the wild anthiopology ol the adult netiopolitan nigiant, leain-
ing a doninant cultuie on the iun, giving as little away as possille. The
dieience heie is that we leain lion the vulneialle aichaic (Raynond
Willianss woid captuies the piedicanent lettei than the anthiopological
prinitivc), lut also without giving nuch away. The point is to iealize that
denociacy also has its iituals, exaggeiated oi nade visille, loi exanple,
when in oui netiopolitan lile we seek to nake politically coiiect nanneis
natuial, a nattei ol ieex.
It is lecause this halitol iecoding iitual (always, ol couise, in the intei-
est ol uncoeicive ieaiiangenent ol desiies) loi tiaining othei piactition-
eisiathei than loi pioduction ol knowledge alout knowledge, has to le
leained ly the teachei as a ieex that I invoked the dieience letweenKlein
and Piaget. I will not le alle to pioduce anthiopologically satislying gen-
eial desciiptions heie lecause no tiainei can piovide satislactoiy desciip-
tions ol the giannai ol a language that s[he is leaining painlully. This is
560 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
the distinction I want to convey. I have such leai ol deiision ol the detail ol
ny woik that I leel olliged to cite a sell-delense that I oeied at Colunlia
when I piesented theie a talk whose London veision diew loith ny invi-
tation to paiticipate in the Annesty Seiies at Oxloid.
What lollows nust
ienain hoitatoiyan appeal to youi inagination until we neet in the eld
ol specic piactice, heie oi theie. Ol couise we all know, with appiopiiate
cynicisn, that this piolally will not le. But a ceienonial lectuie allows you
to tilt at windnills, to insist that such piactice is the only way that one can
hope to supplenent the woik ol hunan iights litigation in oidei to pioduce
cultuial entiy into nodeinity.
Fine, you will say, nayle Hunan Rights inteiventions do not have
the tine to engage in this kind ol patient education, lut theie aie state-
sponsoied systens, NGOs, and activists engaging ineducational initiatives,
suiely? The NGO diives count school luildings and teachei lodies. The
national attenpts also do so, lut only at lest. Activists, who caie alout edu-
cation in the alstiact and aie ciitical ol the systen, talk iights, talk iesis-
tance, even talk nationalisn. But instilling halits in veiy young ninds is
like wiiting onsolt cenent. Repeating slogans, evengood slogans, is not the
way to go, alas. It lieeds lascists ust as easily. UNESCOs teaching guides
loi Hunan Rights aie not helplul as guides.
Sone activists attenpt to instill piide, in these long-disenlianchised
gioups, ina pseudohistoiical naiiative. This type ol civilizationisn is good
loi gestuie politics and lieeding leadeis, lut does little loi the develop-
nent ol denociatic ieexes.
These pseudohistoiies aie assinilated into
the aetiological nythologies ol the Aloiiginals without epistenic change.
Given sulaltein ethnic divisions, oui teaching also pioceeds in the convic-
tion that, il identitaiianisn is geneially lad news heie, it is also geneially
lad news theie.
Let ne now say a veiy lew woids alout the actual teaching, which is
necessaiily sulect to iestiicted geneializalility, lecause it is piedicated
upon conlionting the specic piollens ol the closest geneial educational
lacility to which the teacheis have had, and the students night have, access.
Such geneializations can le nade within the lianewoik ol the undoing
ol those specic piollens. One geneialization seens apposite and ielates
to ny paienthesis on Patenan. Whatevei the status ol wonen in the old
delegitinized cultuial systen, in todays context enphasis nust always le
placed on giil-childiens access to that entiy, without lectuiing, without
connanding, eaining ciedilility, ol couise. Anothei nininally geneializ-
Rignting Wrcngs 561
alle iule ol thunl in this teaching I will locus on the one that Vidyasagai,
the nineteenth-centuiy Bengali intellectual, picked up a hundied and lty
yeais ago: undeinine iote leaining.
As I nentioned at the leginning ol this essay, I an not speaking ol the
lact that a student night swot as a quick way to do well in an exan. In
speaking ol the scandal that, in the glolal South, in the schools loi niddle-
class childien and alove, the lelicitous piinaiy use ol a page ol language is
to undeistand it, inthe schools loi the pooi, it is to spell and nenoiize. This
is an alsolute and accepted divide, the consolidation ol continuing class
apaitheid I ieleiied to eailiei. As a iesult ol this, education is seen upon
sulaltein teiiain as anothei alsuidity lequeathed ly poweilul people and,
incidentally, ol no use at all to giil-childien.
My own teacheis, when I was a student in a good niddle-class Bengali
nediunpiinaiy school in Calcutta, explained the texts. But as I have nen-
tioned, theie is no one to explain in these iuial piinaiy schools. I walked a
couple houis to a village high school in the national systen and waited an
houi and a hall altei opening tine loi the iuial teacheis to aiiive. I legged
then to take good caie ol the two aloiiginal young wonen I was sending
to the school. In late alteinoon, the giils ietuined. Did she explain, I asked.
No, ust spelling and ieading. An alsuid histoiy lesson alout National Lil-
eiation Stiuggles in Many Countiies, wiitten in inconpiehensille piose.
I an going into so nuch detail lecause no uilan oi inteinational iadical
lotheis to look at the detail ol the geneial systen as they wiite ol spe-
cial pioectsnonloinal education, lunctional liteiacy, science pioects
heie and theie. ]ust leloie I lelt India in ]anuaiy zoo, a lnnakei nade
an English docunentaiy entitled sonething like A Tiile Enteis the Main-
stiean. My last act leloie depaituie was to nake suie that the shots ol
ny school le excised. The so-called diiect inteiviews aie iisille. How can
these people give anything lut the expected answeis in such situations?
And yet it is lion such docunentaiies that we olten gathei evidence. I
have ust ieceivednews that this video will le shownat a nationwide Hunan
Rights gatheiing in the capital city with inteinational attendance in Sep-
tenlei zoo. What is the geneializalle signicance ol these enlitteied
ienaiks? To enphasize the discontinuity letween the donestic lelow
and the giassioots leloie I oei the nal iepoit on the education ol Gayatii
My pioect seens to have dened itsell as the nost giound-level task loi
the lieaking ol the pioduction and continuation ol class apaitheid. I now
562 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
undeistand why, in Maixs woild, Maix had cone down to sonething as
sinple as the shoitening ol the woiking day as the giounding condition[dic
Grundbcdingung| when he was speaking ol such giand topics as the Realn
ol Fieedon and the Realn ol Necessity.
The discoveiy ol the piactical use ol the piinei was an inpoitant no-
nent loi ne. Othei nonents would le dicult to integiate into this, they
night seen inconsequential oi lanal. Sonething that can indeed le ie-
poited is that, since I piesented ny papei in Feliuaiy zoo, I have leained
how to connunicate to the teacheis and studentsloi whon the alsuid
education systenis educationthat it is the class apaitheid ol the state that
is taken on in the nove lion iote to conpiehension. I can now show that
theie is no connection in this alsuid education (to nenoiize inconpie-
hensille chunks ol piose and sone veise in iesponse to alsuid questions
in oidei to pass exaninations, to legin to loiget the nenoiized nateiial
instantly) with the existing cultuial iesidue ol iesponsilility. (In netiopoli-
tan theoietical code, this lack ol connection nay le wiitten as no sense
at all that the wiitten is a nessage lion a stiuctuially alsent sulect, a
placeholdei ol alteiity, although the now-delegitinized local cultuie is pio-
gianned loi iesponsilility as a call ol the otheialteiityleloie will.
Thus education in this aiea cannot activate oi iely on cultuie without out-
side[inside eoit.) Foi the sutuiing with enloiced class-sulalteinization
I had to chance upon an innediately conpiehensille concept-netaphoi:
when theie is no exeicise loi the inagination, no tiaining in intellectual
laloinutnu knutuncloi those who aie slated loi nanual laloigutur
knutuncat lest, the iich[pooi divide (burc|ckcnnctc|ck lig people[snall
people) is heie to stay.
At least one teachei said, at leave-taking, that he
now undeistood what I wanted, in the language ol oledience, alas. Theie
is noie woik loi the tiainei down the ioad, uncoeicive undeinining ol the
class-halit ol oledience.
Peihaps you can now inagine how haid it is to change this epistene,
howuntiustwoithy the activists gloat. Foi the solidaiity touiist, it is a giand
aichaic sight to see iuial childien declaining theii lessons in unison, espe-
cially il, as in that nud-ooied classioon in Yunan, six- to nine-yeai-olds
vigoiously dance theii lodies into ancient calligiaphy. But il you step loi-
waid to woik togethei, and engage in noie than useless pattei, the situation
is not so ionantic. Leaining ienains ly iote.
It is a ciuel iiony that when the neaning ol srun in Vidyasagais Les-
son zsrun nu kcri|c |cknupcru ncy nuis explained as laloi and the
Rignting Wrcngs 563
aloiiginal child is asked il she oi he has undeistood, he oi she will show
theii assent ly giving an exanple ol nanual laloi. In English, the sentence
would ieadwithout laloi you cannot leain to wiite and ieadneaning
intellectual laloi, ol couise.
Pioduced ly this class-coiiupt systen ol education, the teacheis then-
selves do not know how to wiite lieely. They do not know the neaning ol
what they teach, since all they have to teach, when they aie doing theii
ol coiiectly, is spelling and nenoiizing. They do not knowwhat dictionai-
ies aie. They have thenselves loigotten eveiything they nenoiized to pass
out ol piinaiy school. When we tiain such teacheis, we nust, alove all, let
then go, leave then alone, to see il the eoits ol us outsideis have leen
iesponsive enough, ciedille enough without any nateiial pionises. When
I see iousing exanples ol peoples novenents, I ask nysell, how long
would the people continue without the piesence ol the activist leadeis? It
is in the context ol eaining that ciedilility that I an iepoiting ny access to
the newconcept-netaphoi linaiy: nutnu knutuncgutcr knutunc: class apait-
heid: burc|ckcnnctc|ck.
I an olten iepiinanded loi wiiting inconpiehensilly. Theie is no one
to conplain alout the aigon-iidden inconpiehensilility ol childiens text-
looks in this sulaltein woild. Il I want you to undeistand the conplete
opacity ol that alsuid histoiy lessonalout National LileiationStiuggles in
Many Countiies, devised ly sone state lunctionaiy at the Ministiy ol Edu-
cation, loi exanple, I would have to take nost ol you thiough an intensive
Bengali lesson so that you aie alle to assess dieient levels ol the language.
Without ventuiing up to that peiilous necessity, I will sinply iecapitulate:
ist, the cultuie ol iesponsilility is coiiupted. The eoit is to leain it with
patience lion lelow and to keep tiying to sutuie it to the inagined lelici-
tous sulect ol univeisal hunan iights. Second, the education systen is
a coiiupt iuin ol the colonial nodel. The eoit is peisistently to undo it,
to teach the halit ol denociatic civility. Thiid, to teach these halits, with
iesponsilility to the coiiupted cultuie, is dieient lion childiens indoc-
tiination into nationalisn, iesistance-talk, identitaiianisn.
I leave this essay with the sense that the nateiial alout the iuial teach-
ing is not in the acceptalle node ol inloination ietiieval. The diculty
is in the discontinuous divide letween those who iight wiongs and those
who aie wionged. I have no inteiest in leconing an educational ieseaichei
oi a diaspoiic golden-agist. I will ask ny New Yoik students what concept-
netaphoi seivedthenlest. (DoiahAhnadtoldne this alteinoonthat what
564 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
she liked lest alout ny giaduate teaching was the use ol stoiies that nade
innediate sensel)
Heie aie sone nice alstiact seeningly ghting woids:
Geneiative politics is ly no neans linitedto the loinal political spheie
lut spans a iange ol donains wheie political questions aiise and nust
le iesponded to. Active tiust is closely lound up with such a concep-
tion. . . . No longei depending on piegiven alignnents, it is noie con-
tingent, and contextual, than nost eailiei loins ol tiust ielations. It
does not necessaiily inply equality, lut it is not conpatille with del-
eience aiising lion tiaditional loins ol status.
Il you want to attenpt to liing this aloutloi the sake ol a glolal ustice
to conehands onyou legin in sonething like what I have desciiled in
this essay.
I anso iiieligious that atheisnseens a ieligion to ne. But I nowundei-
stand why lundanentalists ol all kinds have succeeded lest in the teaching
ol the pooiloi the gieatei gloiy ol God. One needs sone soit ol licensed
lunacy (Oilando Patteisons phiase) lion sone tianscendental Othei to
develop the soit ol iuthless connitnent that can undeinine the sense that
one is lettei than those who aie leing helped, that the alility to nanage
a conplicated lile suppoit systen is the sane as leing civilized. But I an
inuenced ly deconstiuction and loi ne, iadical alteiity cannot le naned
God, in any language. Indeed, the nane ol nan in hunan iights (oi
the nane ol wonan in wonens iights aie hunan iights) will continue
to tioulle ne.
Licensed lunacy in the nane ol the unnanalle othei, then. It took ne
this long to explain this inconpiehensille phiase. Yet the eoits I have
desciiled nay le the only iecouise loi a lutuie to cone when the ieason-
alle iighting ol wiongs will not inevitally le the nanilest destiny ol gioups
that ienain poised to iight then, when wiongs will not piolileiate with
unsuipiising iegulaiity.
This essay was oiiginally piesented in the Oxloid Annesty Lectuies seiies Hunan
Rights, Hunan Wiongs, Spiing zoo.
z Geoige Shelton incidentally piovides a gloss on the native English-speakeis take on the
woid wrcng in Mcru|ity und Scvcrcignty in tnc Pni|cscpny cj !cbbcs (NewYoik: St. Maitins,
z), z8z. See also D. D. Raphael, Holles on ]ustice, in G. A. ]. Rodgeis and
Rignting Wrcngs 565
Alan Ryan, eds., Pcrspcctivcs cn Tncnus !cbbcs (Oxloid: Claiendon, 88), 6q6. Alex
Callinicos gives othei exanples ol social Daiwinisn in Scciu| Tnccry. A !istcricu| !ntrc-
ducticn (Oxloid: Blackwell, ).
Spivak, A Critiquc cj Pcstcc|cniu| Rcuscn. Tcwurd u !istcry cj tnc Vunisning Prcscnt (Can-
liidge: Haivaid Univeisity Piess, ), z;n. This is a nuch-ievised veisionol eailiei
woik. The initial thinking and wiiting ol the piece took place in 8z8. In othei woids,
I have leen thinking ol the access to the Euiopean Enlightennent thiough coloniza-
tion as an enallenent loi twenty-odd yeais. I an so olten steieotyped as a ieectei ol
the Enlightennent that I leel olliged to nake this cleai at the outset. But I thought ol
this paiticulai nethod ol access to the Enlightennent as a violation as well. In z, I
piesented Thinking Acadenic Fieedon in Gendeied Post-Coloniality in Cape Town,
wheie I laid out the idea ol al-using the Enlightennent, in ways sinilai to lut not iden-
tical with the piesent aigunent. (That essay is leing iepiinted in ]ane Hulei, Pc|iti-
cu| Antnrcpc|cgy (Oxloid: Blackwell, loithconing). The editoi desciiles it as piescient
alout South Aliica, lecause it was piesented as eaily as z. She desciiles the piece as
the sting in the tail ol hei collection, lecause Spivak, contiaiy to hei steieotype, iecon-
nends using the Enlightennent lionlelow.) This, then, was a decade ago. Indeed, this is
one ol the ieasons why I hang inwith Deiiida, lecause heie is one ciitic ol ethnocentiisn
(Oj Grunnutc|cgy, tians. Gayatii Chakiavoity Spivak [Baltinoie: The ]ohns Hopkins Uni-
veisity Piess, ;6|, ) who continues, as I ienaiked in Responsilility, to indicate the
dangei and lad laith in a wholesale ieection ol the Enlightennent (Spivak, Responsi-
lility, bcundury . . [Fall q|: 8q6). My doulle-edged attitude to the Euiopean
Enlightennent is thus not a sudden change ol heait.
q Mel ]anes, Countiy Mechanisns ol the United Nations Connission on Hunan
Rights, inYael Danieli, Elsa Stanatopoulou, and Claience ]. Dias, eds., Tnc Univcrsu| Dcc-
|uruticn cj !unun Rignts. Fijty Ycurs und Bcycnd (Anityville, NY: Baywood Pullishing,
), ;6;;.
Cited in Thonas Paine, Rignts cj Mun (Indianapolis: Hackett, z), ;.
6 The identity ol the nation and the state is geneially associated with the Peace ol West-
phalia (6q8), olten thought ol as one ol the inauguiations ol the Enlightennent. See, loi
exanple, R. Paul Chuichill, Holles and the Assunption ol Powei, in Petei Caws, ed.,
Tnc Cuuscs cj Quurrc|. Essuys cn Pcucc, Wur, und Tncnus !cbbcs (Boston: Beacon Piess,
88), ;.
; Thonas Risse, Stephen C. Ropp, and Kathiyn Sikkink, eds., Tnc Pcwcr cj !unun Rignts.
!ntcrnuticnu| Ncrns und Dcncstic Cnungc (NewYoik: Canliidge Univeisity Piess, ).
8 I have wiitten alout this class in Spivak, A Critiquc, z. They aie not only involved in
iighting wiongs, ol couise. The head ol the Space Vehicle Diiectoiates innovative con-
cepts gioup, lehind Geoige W. Bushs newspace wai initiative, is a nodel ninoiity dias-
poiic, haidly iighting wiongsl
I an not tendentious in leing ciitical ol this. Ian Maitin, secietaiy-geneial ol Annesty
Inteinational lion 86 to z, is sinilaily ciitical. See Ian Maitin, Closei to the Vic-
tin: United Nations Hunan Rights Field Opeiations, in Danieli, Stanatopoulou, and
Dias, Univcrsu| Dcc|uruticn, z.
o Risse, Ropp, and Sikkink, Pcwcr, ;o.
566 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
Ilid., 6;.
z Edwaid W. Said, Rcccticns cn Ei|c und Otncr Essuys (Canliidge: Haivaid Univeisity
Piess, zooo), xi. It is inteiesting that Maiy Shelley calls inpeiial Rone the capital ol the
woild, the ciown ol nans achievenents (Tnc Lust Mun [London: Pickeiing, 6|, 6).
I an giatelul to Lecia Rosenthal loi this ieleience.
Roity, Hunan Rights, Rationality, and Sentinentality, in Stephen Shute and Susan
Huiley, eds., On !unun Rignts (New Yoik: Basic Books, ), z;, see also, Kuan Yew
Lee, Frcn Tnird Wcr|d tc First. Tnc Singupcrc Stcry, r6.ccc (NewYoik: Haipei, zooo),
the sentinent alout detention is to le lound on page q88. Meanwhile, geneial pieces like
Asloin Eide, Histoiical Signicance ol the Univeisal Declaiation, !ntcrnuticnu| Scciu|
Scicncc ]curnu| o.q (Decenlei 8): q;6, shaie neithei Roitys wit noi the iealisn
ol the iest.
q I think theie is sonething like a ielationship letweenthese and the tutoied pieleiences
discussed in Philip Kitchei, Scicncc, Trutn, und Dcnccrucy (NewYoik: Oxloid Univeisity
Piess, zoo), 8. Piolessoi Kitchei is speaking ol an ideal connunity ol tax-paying
citizens and he is conceined alout well-oideied science, wheieas I will le speaking ol
students in geneial, including the iuial pooi in the glolal South. Even with these diei-
ences, I would aigue that tiansnitting inloination (8) would not necessaiily lead to
a tutoiing ol pieleiences. This is pait ol a noie geneial inteiiogation ol consciousness
iaising as a lasis loi social change.
I had not iead Dewey when I legan ny woik with the childien ol the iuial pooi. In oidei
to wiite this piece I took a quick look, too quick, I leai. I an ceitainly with Dewey in his
enphasis on intelligent halit loination and his contenpt loi iote leaining. It nust le
said, howevei, that Deweys woik opeiates on the assunption that the educatoi is ol the
sane cultuie and society[class as the peison to le educated, ny idea ol cultuial sutui-
ing, to le developed latei in the essay, does not ieside within those assunptions. Dewey
has a holistic and unitaiy view ol the inside ol the child that I nd dicult to accept. I
an giatelul to Benanin Conislee Baei loi ieseaich assistance in ny quick pielininaiy
loiay into Dewey.
6 I an so olten asked to distinguish ny position lion Maitha Nusslauns that I leel con-
pelled to wiite this note, sonewhat unwillingly. In spite ol hei valiant eoits, Maitha
Nusslauns woik seens to ne to ienain on the netiopolitan side ol the undeigiiding
discontinuity ol which I speak in ny text. Hei inloinants, even when seeningly sul-
altein, aie nediated loi hei ly the donestic lelow, the descendants ol the colonial
sulect, the noially outiaged top-diawei activist. Although she ceitainly wants to undei-
stand the situation ol pooi wonen, hei ieal pioect is to advance the lest possille theoiy
loi that undeitaking, on the way to pullic inteiest inteivention, ly the inteinational
alove, who is iepiesented ly the us in the lollowing typical sentence: Undeistood at
its lest, the pateinalisn aigunent is not an aigunent against cioss-cultuial univeisals.
Foi it is all alout iespect loi the dignity ol peisons as chooseis. This iespect iequiies us to
delend univeisally a wide iange ol lileities . . . (Nusslaun, Wcncn und !unun Dcvc|cp-
ncnt. tnc Cupubi|itics Apprcucn [WHD| [Canliidge, Canliidge Univeisity Piess, zooo|,
6o). It is not a coincidence that Nusslaun lecane awaie ol pooi wonen ly way ol a
stint at the educational wing ol the UN (Pcctic ]usticc. Tnc Litcrury !nuginuticn und Pub-
|ic Lijc [P]| [Boston: Beacon Piess, |, xvxvi and zn q). She went to India to leain
Rignting Wrcngs 567
as nuch as [she| could alout wonens developnent pioects and woiked thiough intei-
pieteis in oidei to nd loth a philosophical ustication loi univeisalisn and to diaw
conclusions alout the pios and cons ol pullic inteiest litigation. (Hei look ends with
thiee legal case studies.) The case-s aie exceptional sulalteins piepaied ly SEWA
one ol the nost spectaculai social expeiinents in the thiid woild. I have nentioned else-
wheie that this oiganization is the invaiialle exanple cited when niciociedit lendeis
aie questioned alout theii lack ol social involvenent (Spivak, Claining Tiansloina-
tions: Tiavel Notes with Pictuies, in S. Ahned, ]. Killy, M. McNeil, and B. Skeggs, eds.,
Trunsjcrnuticns. Tninking tnrcugn Fcninisn[London: Routledge, zooo|, o). Il Nuss-
launs inloinants aie uilan iadical leadeis ol the iuial, hei souices ol inspiiation
Gandhi, Nehiu, Tagoielelong to national lileiationist leadeiship lionthe piogiessive
louigeoisie. (She has an epigiaph alout wonen lion Iswaichandia Vidyasagai (WHD
zqz), whose activist inteivention in iuial education I cite latei in this essay. Vidyasagais
inteivention on lehall ol wonen engaged caste-Hindus, since widow ienaiiiage was
not unknown anong the so-called tiilals and lowei castes. My gieat-gieat-giandlathei
Bihaiilal Bhaduii was an associate ol Vidyasagai and aiianged a second naiiiage loi his
daughtei Baiahini, widowed in childhood. The iepeicussions ol this lold step have leen
lelt in ny lanily. The point Intiying to nake is that, wheieas Vidyasagais liteiacy activ-
isn, awaie ol the detail ol iuial education, applies to the sulaltein classes even today, his
leninist activisnapplied to the netiopolitanniddle class, to whichI lelong.) Nusslaun
ceitainly lelieves in the value ol education and liteiacy, lut these aie contentless
woids loi hei. She also lelieves in the viitues ol the liteiaiy inagination, lut hei idea
ol it is a synpathetic identication, a liinging ol the othei into the sell (P] , q, 8),
a guaiantee that liteiatuie nakes us acknowledge the equal hunanity ol nenleis ol
social classes othei than oui own. This is iathei lai lion the dangeious sell-ienouncing
delusion, a iisky otheiing ol the sell, that has to le toned down loi the ieadeis lenet,
whichienains nyWoidswoithiannodel (WillianWoidswoith, Lyricu| Bu||uds und Otncr
Pccns [Ithaca: Coinell Univeisity Piess, z|, ;, ;). It is not without signicance that
hei nodels aie social-iealist novels and Walt Whitnan iead as expositoiy piose. Woids-
woiths pioect was pedagogicto change pullic taste (;qzq). Theie is not a woidalout
pedagogy in Nusslauns text. Like nany acadenic lileials she inagines that eveiyone
leels the sane conplicated pleasuies lion a Dickens text. As a teachei ol ieading, ny
entiie eoit is to tiain students away lion the soit ol chaiacteiological plot sunnaiy
appioachthat she uses. Inthe liiel conpass ol a note I anolligedto ielei the ieadei to ny
ieading ol Wooll in Deconstiuction and Cultuial Studies: Aigunents loi a Deconstiuc-
tive Cultuial Studies, in Nicholas Royle, ed., Dcccnstructicns (Oxloid: Blackwell, zooo),
qq, ]anaica Kincaid in Thinking Cultuial Questions in Puie Liteiaiy Teins, in
Stuait Hall, Paul Gilioy, Lawience Giossleig, Angela McRollie, eds., Witncut Guurun-
tccs. !n !cncr cj Stuurt !u|| (London: Veiso, zooo), ;, and Maiyse Cond in The
Staging ol Tine in Maiyse Conds !crcnukncncn (loithconing in Cu|turu| Studics) loi
accounts ol such teaching. The only ihetoiical ieading Nusslaun peiloins is ol ]udge
Posneis opinion on Maiy Caii v. GM (P] oq). (The piece in Royle will also give a
sense ol ny activist ieading ol the pcicsisistcriu aigunent in Aiistotle.) I have ienaiked
that, in the context ol Indian wonen, education is a contentless good loi Nusslaun.
In the context ol hei own woild, the noial education oeied ly liteiatuie is sinply
568 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
theie (P] 8q). Foi ne the task ol teaching in the two woilds is ielated lut dieient, in
each case inteiiuptive, supplenentaiy. In the disenlianchised woild theie is a call to sus-
pend all the ne analytic nachineiy that gives Nusslaun the condence to clain that
the standaid ol udgnent constiucted in [hei| conception ol poetic ustice passes . . .
[the| tests ol Whitnans geneial call loi the poet-udge (P] zo) and so on. To attend to
the unleashing ol the ethical gives no guaiantee that it will pioduce a good iesultust
that it will liing in a ielation, peihaps. As the liteiaiy Melville and the liteiaiy Faulknei
knew, the ielationship letween the huntei and the piey steps into the ielational donain
we will call ethical. The doninant appiopiiation ol the necessaiy and inpossille apo-
iia letween the political and ethical into the convenience ol a liidge naned iace-class-
gendei-sensitivity is what we nust constantly keep at lay, even as we cioss and iecioss.
AlthoughNusslaunknows the linitations ol lehavioiisn(WHD), it is cleai lion
hei discussion ol cential capalilities and, especially, the value ol ieligionsonething
having to do with ideals and aspiiations (WHD 8)that she knows ubcut cultuial dil-
leience lut cannot inagine it. Hei nodel ol the hunan nind is wedded to the autono-
nous sulect, a gilt ol the Euiopean Enlightennent lioadly undeistood. The enotions
aie naned. They aie yoked to leliel and thus led to ieason. This tiaectoiy pioduces Adan
Sniths idea ol the liteiaiy udge. Foi lettei oi loi woise, ny viewol the nind is loievei
naiked ly the connon sense plausilility ol Fieuds stiictuie ol iepiessionthe nind
leeling anunpleasuie as pleasuie to piotect itsell. Theieloie ny notionol political agency
iests on a iestiicted and accountalle nodel ol the peison that leais a discontinuous and
liactuied ielationship with the sulect. The nost dicult pait ol the pedagogic eoit
outlined latei in ny essay nay le piecisely this: that in opening nysell to le otheied ly
the sulaltein, it is this lioadei noie nysteiious aiena ol the sulect that the sell hopes
to entei, and then, thiough the task ol teaching, ieheaise the apoiia letween sulectship
and the noie tiactalle eld ol agency. Foi us politics can nevei clain to speak with a
lull and lully hunan voice (P] ;z). Nusslauns woik is thus pienised on the asynne-
tiy in youi title. My nodest eoits aie a hands-on undeitaking, with the sulaltein, to
undo this asynnetiy, sone day. Without this eoitlul task ol doing in the node ol to
cone, iathei than only thinking in the node ol ny way is the lest, theie is indeed a
scaiy supeicial sinilaiity (P] ;6, 86, 8o) letween the two ol us, enough to nislead
people. I adniie hei scholaiship and hei intelligence, lut I can leain little lion hei. My
teachei is the sulaltein.
; Anthony de Reuck connents on the discontinuity letween sulaltein and elite (using
a peiipheiy[centei vocalulaiy) as styles ol peiceptual incoheience . . . on the thiesh-
old ol a cultuial anthiopology ol philosophical contioveisy and veeis away lion it:
That, as they say, is anothei stoiyl (de Reuck, Cultuie in Conict, in Caws, Cuuscs cj
Quurrc|, 6). My essay lays out the piactical politics ol that othei stoiy, il you like.
The supeiioiity ol Noithein epistenes, howevei, ienains an inplicit piesupposition.
]onathan Glovei analyzes the possilility ol the Nazi nindset in nunling detail and dis-
cusses Rwanda with no ieleience to a nental theatei at all (Glovei, !ununity. A Mcru|
!istcry cj tnc Twcntictn Ccntury (London: ]onathan Cape, ).
Risse, Ropp, and Sikkink vaiy theii denition ol the donestic as lelow ly consid-
eiing lieedon ol expiession only in the case ol Eastein Euiope and not in the cases ol
Kenya, Uganda, SouthAliica, Tunisia, Moiocco, Indonesia, Philippines, Chile, andGuate-
Rignting Wrcngs 569
nala. The luxuiy ol an expiessive oi contaninalle nind is inplicitly not gianted to the
sulaltein ol the glolal South.
8 This loigetlulness is the condition and eect ol the sinple value udgnent that iights
thinking is supeiioittei. Social psychology is now pioducing alundant ietioactive
piool that each sepaiate developing cultuie is collective wheieas Aneiica (syn-
ecdochically the United States) and Euiope (synecdochically noithwestein Euiope and
Scandinavia) is individualistic. This collectivisn is a tiivialization ol the thinking ol
iesponsilility I shall discuss lelow. Multicultuialisn (synecdochically glolal il we
ienenlei the inpoitant iole ol upwaid nolility anong diaspoiics and the econoni-
cally iestiuctuied New Woild) is now lactoied into this authoiitative and scientic divi-
sion, although all conpaiisons ielating to actually developing countiies is iesolutely
lilateial letween one nation[state[cultuie and the Euio-U.S. The sanpling techniques
ol such woik is pathetic in theii suggestive nudging ol the inloinant gioups to pioduce
the iequiied evidence (Susan M. Eivin-Tiipp, ]ohn ]. Gunpeiz, Dan I. Slolin, ]an Biuk-
nan, Keith Keinan, Claudia Mitchell, and Biian Stioss, A Fic|d Munuu| jcr Crcss-Cu|turu|
Study cj tnc Acquisiticn cj Ccnnunicutivc Ccnpctcncc, second dialt]uly 6; [Beikeley:
Univeisity ol Caliloinia Piess, 6;|, Geeit H. Holstede, Cu|turcs und Orgunizuticns. Scjt-
wurc cj tnc Mind [NewYoik: McGiaw-Hill, |, Saluio Iwawaki, Yoshihisa Kashina, and
Kwok Leung, eds., !nncvuticns in Crcss-Cu|turu| Psycnc|cgy [Ansteidan: Swets and Zeit-
lingei, z|, Gail McKoon and Rogei Ratcli, The Mininalist Hypothesis: Diiections
loi Reseaich, inChailes A.Weavei III, Suzanne Mannes, Chailes Fletchei, eds., Disccursc
Ccnprcncnsicn. Essuys in !cncr cj Wu|tcr Kintscn [Hillsdale, N]: L. Eillaun, |, ;
6, Paul DiMaggio, Cultuie and Cognition, in Annuu| Rcvicw cj Sccic|cgy z [;|:
z68;, Huong Nguyen, Lawience Mess, and Gaiy Stollak, Towaid a Moie Conplex
Undeistanding ol Accultuiation and Adustnent: Cultuial Involvenents and Psychoso-
cial Functioning in Vietnanese Youth, ]curnu| cj Crcss-Cu|turu| Psycnc|cgy o. []anuaiy
|: , Aiie W. Kiuglanski and Donna M. Welstei, Motivated Closing ol the Mind:
Seizing and Fieezing, in E. Toiy Higgins and Aiie W. Kiuglanski, eds., Mctivuticnu|
Scicncc. Scciu| und Pcrscnu|ity Pcrspcctivcs [Philadelphia: Psychology Piess, zooo|, q;,
Hong Ying-yi, Michael W. Moiiis, Chiu Chi-yue, and Veionica Benet-Maitinez, Multi-
cultuial Minds: A Dynanic Constiuctivist Appioach to Cultuie and Cognition, Ancri-
cun Psycnc|cgist []uly zooo|: ;ozo.) The sophistication ol the vocalulaiy and the
poveity ol the conclusions iest on an unciitical idea ol the hunan nind. We cannot ask
social psychology to lecone qualitative cognitive psychology oi philosophical ontology.
Yet these soits ol acadenic suldisciplinaiy endeavoi, especially when condently oeied
up ly lenale diaspoiics (ny last teiiilying encountei with this type ol scholaiship cane
lion a young intelligent innocent condent powei-diessed Hong Kong Chinese wonan
tiained in Caliloinia), diiectly oi indiiectly sustain the asynnetiical division letween
Hunan Rights and Hunan Wiongs that inloin oui title. The division that we aie
speaking ol is a class division dissinulated as a cultuial division in oidei to iecode the
unequal distiilution ol agency. In that context I an suggesting that the legging ol the
question ol hunan natuie[lieedon, nuch discussed when the question ol hunan iights
was conned to Euiope, has leen withheld lion a seeningly cultuially divided teiiain
not only ly doninant political theoiizing and policynaking, lut also ly disciplinaiy ten-
dencies. Alex Callinicos, whon no one would associate with deconstiuction, places the
570 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
natuie[polity hesitation as the conict at the veiy heait ol the Euiopean Enlightennent,
aiguing its saliency loi today on those giounds (Callinicos, Scciu| Tnccry, z, z6, z, ,
;, 6;, 8, ;8, ;).
Thonas Paine, Rignts cj Mun, Ccnncn Scnsc (New Yoik: Knopl, q), 8.
zo Deiiida, Foice ol Law, in David Giay Cailson, Diucilla Coinell, and Michel Rosen-
leld, eds., Dcccnstructicn und tnc Pcssibi|ity cj ]usticc (New Yoik: Routledge, z),
6;. Benanins essay is included in Rcccticns. Essuys, Apncrisns, Autcbicgrupnicu| Writ-
ings, tians. Ednund ]ephcott (NewYoik: Haicouit Biace, ;8), z;;oo. Deiiida shows
how Benanin attenpts to solve the piollen loth on the univeisal iegistei (the new
state) and the singulai iegistei (his own signatuie). In teins ol the texts ielationship
to the sulsequent developnent ol a lull-edged Nazisn, Deiiida oeis an alteinative
ieading. Most ieadings (including Deiiidas) niss Benanins conviction that the educa-
tive powei is a loin ol appeaiance (Erscncinungsjcrn) ol what Benanin calls divine
powei, lecause it lieaks the ciine[expiation chain that the law deals with. And yet the
educative does not depend on niiacles loi its denition (Waltei Benanin, The Ciitique
ol Violence, in Rcccticns. Essuys, Apncrisns, Autcbicgrupnicu| Writings, tians. Ednund
]ephcott (New Yoik: Schocken, 86), z;, I an ieading cntsundcn as lieaking with the
unavoidalle link letween guilt and expiationScnu|d and Sunnciathei than as expi-
ate, as in the English text, a tianslation that iendeis Benanins aigunent alsuid. I
thank Andieas Huyssen loi coiioloiating ny ieading. The ieadei will see the connec-
tion letween the guilt-and-shane ol hunan iights enloicenent, and oui hope in the
displacing powei ol education.
z Einst Bloch, Nuturu| Luw und !unun Dignity, tians. Dennis ]. Schnidt (Canliidge: The
MIT Piess, 86), quotation lion z6.
zz Michel Foucault, The Masked Philosophei, inPc|itics, Pni|cscpny, Cu|turc. !ntcrvicws und
Otncr Writings r,,r6, tians. Alan Sheiidan (New Yoik: Routledge, 88), zo,
Deiiida, My Chances[Mcs Cnunccs: ARendezvous withSone EpicuieanSteieophonies,
in ]oseph H. Snith and Willian Keiiigan, eds., Tuking Cnunccs. Dcrridu, Psycncunu|y-
sis, und Litcruturc (Baltinoie: The ]ohns Hopkins Univeisity Piess, 8q), z. Foi the
Nietzschean nonent, see Deiiida, Pc|itics cj Fricndsnip, tians. Geoige Collins (NewYoik:
Veiso, ;), ;8o. It is ol couise silly to call Zeno and Epicuius colonial sulects, oi
Aiistotlewho nevei lecane anAtheniancitizena iesident alien. The point I antiy-
ing to nake is that the ienoval ol the Austio-Asiatic aloiiginals lionthe Indo-Euiopean
colonizing loopthe naiiative lehindIndianconstitutional policywas active whenEpi-
cuius the Athenian lion Sanos, hugging the coast ol Tuikey, whose paients enigiated
lion Athens as colonists, and Zeno the Phoenician lion Syiian Cypiusloth places
the olect ol constant inpeiial gial-shiltscane to Athens to le educated and sulse-
quently to lound theii philosophies. As I will go on to elaloiate, these Indian aloiiginals
aie anong the disenlianchised gioups whose contenpoiaiy educational situation seens
ciucial to the geneial aigunent ol this essay. I discuss the iesultant piocess ol atiophy
and stagnation at gieatei length latei in this essay.
z Giegoiy Elliott puts togethei two distanced asseitions ly Louis Althussei to shaipen
the latteis sense ol Machiavellis uncanny engagenent with this piollenatic: Machia-
vellis endeavoui to think the conditions ol possilility ol an inpossille task, to think the
unthinkalle induces a stiange vuci||uticn in the tiaditional philosophical status ol [his|
Rignting Wrcngs 571
theoietical piopositions: as il they weie undeinined ly anothei instance than the one
that pioduces thenthe instance ol political piactice (Elliott, Intioduction, in Louis
Althussei, Mucniuvc||i und Us, tians. Giegoiy Elliott [London: Veiso, |, xviii). Althus-
sei attenpts to x Machiavellis place upon this chain ol displacenents (zz6). See also
AdanD. Danel, ACusc jcr Frccdcn. Mucniuvc||iun !ununisn(NewYoik: Univeisity Piess
ol Aneiica, ;). Foi the Holles-Bianhill delate, see Veie Chappell, ed., !cbbcs und
Brunni|| cn Libcrty und Ncccssity (Canliidge: Canliidge Univeisity Piess, ). David
Gauthiei piovides an inteiesting way ol linking Holles and Paine (Gauthiei, Holless
Social Contiact, in Rodgeis and Ryan, Pcrspcctivcs cn Tncnus !cbbcs, z6z;, q8).
zq Geoige Shelton, Mcru|ity und Scvcrcignty, zo, 868;, ;. Fiction and ieality aie
Sheltons woids. By indicating the slippage Sheltonnakes ioonloi ny noie iadical posi-
tionthat the ction naiks the legging ol the question that pioduces the ieal.
z Patiicia Spiingloig, Holles on Religion, in Ton Soiell, ed., Tnc Cunbridgc Ccnpun-
icn tc !cbbcs (Canliidge: Canliidge Univeisity Piess, 6), q6o, see also Aiiigo
Pacchi, Holles and the Piollen ol God, in Rodgeis and Ryan, Pcrspcctivcs cn Tncnus
!cbbcs, 8z8;. Balilai suggests a doulle Holles: one in whose wiitings the violence
ol oiiginal sin was always ieady to luist loith, and anothei who saw law innanent in
natuial sell-inteiest and conpetition (piivate connunication), a veision, peihaps, ol the
discontinuity alout which I an speaking.
z6 In his ieading ol Rousseau in Oj Grunnutc|cgy Deiiida has indicated Rousseaus place
on this chain (tians. Spivak [Baltinoie: The ]ohns Hopkins Univeisity Piess, ;6|,
6). Lockes view ol natuial iights is anothei well-known concatenation on this chain
(see ]ohn Locke, Qucsticns Ccnccrning tnc Luw cj Nuturc, tians. Diskin Clay [Ithaca: Coi-
nell Univeisity Piess, o| loi how Locke taught the issue, loi a scholaily account, see
A. ]ohn Sinnons, Tnc Lcckcun Tnccry cj Rignts [Piinceton: Piinceton Univeisity Piess,
z|). Balilai suggests that, ly piivatizing natuie on the one hand [as| he is also social-
izing it, Locke is alle to ieconcile natuial society and aiticial connunity ( Possessive
Individualisn Reveised: Fion Locke to Deiiida, loithconing in Ccnstc||uticns). Foi a
contenpoiaiy discussion ol the chain lion at least Ronan law, Richaid Tuck, Nuturu|
Rignts Tnccrics. Tncir Origin und Dcvc|cpncnt (Canliidge: Canliidge Univeisity Piess,
;8) ienains indispensalle. This is ol couise a laypeisons checklist, not a specialist
z; I have no expeitise in this aiea and wiite this note to piovoke those who do. I anthinking
ol Binal Kiishna Matilals attenpts to connect with Oxloid oidinaiy language philoso-
phy when he was Spalding Piolessoi theie, his unpullished woik on iational ciitique
in the Indic tiadition. I an thinking ol Ayesha ]alals woik in piogiess on Iqlal. When
one invokes Kautilya oi the Ain-!-Akburi, oi yet engages in sinocentiic Woild Systens
theoiyas in the cuiient dieient-yet-ielated woik ol Andi Gundei Fiank, Innanuel
Walleistein, and Giovanni Aiiighione is eithei in the aiea ol conpaiative specialisns
oi identitaiian cultuial conseivatisns. These aie the iisks iun ly Waltei Mignolo and
Agustin Lao-Montes as well as ly Goidon Biotheiston in Aneiicas studies, Paul Gilioy
and Maitin Beinal in Aliicana. I conpose this inexpeit note so that ny piactical-political
conceins aie not silenced ly neie eiudition.
z8 Alan Gewiith, !unun Rignts. Essuys cn ]usticuticn und App|icuticns (Chicago: Chicago
Univeisity Piess, 8z), z8.
572 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
z I have aigued this in !npcrutivcs tc Rcinuginc tnc P|unct (Vienna: Passagen, ).
o Gewiith, !unun Rignts, q.
Ilid., z, q.
z Ilid., qo. What does the Golden Rule have to do with what I was saying in the pie-
ceding paiagiaph? Foi Gewiith, Hunan iights aie . . . noial iights which all peisons
equally have sinply lecause they aie hunan (). Foi hinthe Golden Rule is a connon
noial denoninatoi (z8). Hence it is a giounding question. In the pieceding paiagiaph
I was suggesting that Euiopean political theoiy has stopped consideiing the ielationship
letween giounding natuial questions and the estallishnent ol civil polities. I an now
suggesting that Gewiithis a philosophei who does woiiy alout it, naking the usual disci-
plinaiy aiiangenents. Inny estination, Rawlss sepaiationol political and philosophical
lileialisn is a way ol getting aiound the necessity loi conlionting the piollen.
Deiiida has discussed this with ieleience to Leilnitz in his The Piinciple ol Reason:
The Univeisity in the Eyes ol Its Pupils, Diucritics . (Fall 8): ;o.
q Gewiith, !ununRignts, 8, enphasis nine. Reasonas white nythology is the inloining
aigunent ol Deiiida, White Mythology: Metaphoi in the Text ol Philosophy, Murgins
cj Pni|cscpny, tians. Alan Bass (Chicago: Univeisity ol Chicago Piess, 8z), zo;z;.
Ronald Dwoikin desciiles the undecidalle nonent: the iight to concein and iespect is
lundanental anong iights ina dieient way, lecause it shows howthe idea ol a collective
goal nay itsell le deiived lionthat lundanental iight. Il so, then concein and iespect is
a iight so lundanental that it is not captuied ly the geneial chaiacteiization ol iights as
tiunps ovei collective goals, except as a liniting case, lecause it is the souice loth ol the
geneial authoiity ol collective goals and ol the special linitations on theii authoiity that
ustily noie paiticulai iights. That pionise ol unity in political theoiy is indistinct in
these essays, howevei. It nust le delended, il at all, elsewheie (Ronald Dwoikin, Tuking
Rignts Scricus|y [Canliidge: Haivaid Univeisity Piess, ;8|, xv). I lelieve this indistinct-
ness is geneiic and the elsewheie, il at all, is an iiieducille alili. Latei in the collection,
Dwoikinis alle to disniss the discontinuity letweennatuial iights and the lest politi-
cal piogian lecause he is luilding an aigunent, not woiiying alout the ustication
loi the loundation ol states (;6;;). To take his statenent heie as a nal solution to the
entiie piollen is to conluse the loice ol his [aigunent| loi its iange, a conlusion he
attiilutes to Geitiude Hinnellails ieading ol ]ohn Stuait Mills Oj Libcrty (z6). Wheie
I nd Ronald Dwoikin altogethei inspiiing is in his insistence on piinciple iathei than
policy in haid cases. The iange ol this insistence has an elasticity that can acconnodate
the loice ol ny plea to the doninant.
I use upcriu to nane a situation wheie theie aie two iight ways that cancel each othei
and that we, ly leing agents, have alieady naiked in one way, with a decision that nakes
us iathei than we it. Theie aie othei, noie philosophically conplex ways ol loinalizing
6 Foi a noie extensive denition, see Spivak, A Critiquc, z6;q.
; In the lties, C. Wiight Mills wiote his lanous Sccic|cgicu| !nuginuticn to suggest that
Sociology was the discipline ol disciplines loi the tines. He clained inagination totally
loi ieason. The sociological inagination was a quality ol nind that will help [us| to use
inloination and to develop ieason in oidei to achieve lucid sunnations ol what is going
on in the woild and what nay le happening within thenselves (C. Wiight Mills, Tnc
Rignting Wrcngs 573
Sccic|cgicu| !nuginuticn [NewYoik: Oxloid Univeisity Piess, |, ). Within a hitheito
hunanistic cultuie, ieason and inagination, analysis and synthesis, aie ianked. That is
how Shelleys Dcjcncc cj Pcctry staits, giving to inagination the piinaiy place. Mills is
wiiting a delence ol sociology, which he thinks will ieconcile the innei lile and extei-
nal caieei ol contenpoiaiy nan. Nusslaun leninizes this nodel. Foi the Hunanities,
the ielationship letween the two had leen a site ol conict, a souice ol giounding paia-
doxes. Mills cannot nd any conloit in such puisuits, lecause, in the lties, the quality
ol education in the Hunanities had lecone too ingiown, too loinalist, too scientistic. It
no longei nuituied the inagination, that inluilt instiunent ol otheiing. Theieloie Mills
wiote, ievealingly, It does not nattei whethei [the nost inpoitant| qualities [ol nind|
urc to le lound [in liteiatuie|, what natteis is that nen do not olten nd then theie
(;), lecause, ol couise, they aie no longei taught to iead the woild closely as they iead
8 The alility to nake ne-giained piedictions indicates that the task is unlikely to le eiioi-
toleiant (Kitchei, Scicncc, zzq). The eoit I an speaking ol nust le eiioi-toleiant, in
teachei, tiainei, tiained, and taught, since we aie speaking ol cultuial shilt, and thus a
shilt in the denition ol eiioi.
Think, loi exanple, ol the constiuctive undeinining ol tiiunphalist, we nust help
lecause we aie lettei sentinents to the awaieness at least that, to help undo the diei-
ence letween us helping and then leing helped, il the excellent teaching tool The
Rohde to Sielienica: ACase Study ol Hunan Rights Repoiting, which docunents U.S.
iepoitei David Rohdes ouiney thiough Bosnia (www.colunlia.edu[itc[ouinalisn[
nelson[iohde) weie supplenented in the lollowing way: in the long iun, a liteiaiy-level
entiy into the nuance dieiences letween Muslin and Seil Bosnian, and theii ielation-
ship to the sulaltein language Ronani (which can also le accessed with deep locus), in
oidei to tease out the conpionised and disenlianchised elenents ol the local cultuies
leloie the nost iecent disasteis, intheii noinality, atiophied ly waves ol inpeiialisns.
Suce it to notice that the dieience letween the existing teaching tool and its inag-
ined supplenentation is the dieience letween uigent decisions and long-teinconnit-
nent. I ielei the ieadei to the dieience letweendoctois without liontieis and piinaiy
health-caie woikeis with which I legan. The analogy: shoit-tein connitnent to iight-
ing wiongs veisus long-tein involvenent to leain lion lelow the peisistent undoing ol
the iepioduction ol class apaitheid and its attendant evils.
The ieason loi avoiding this is its inconvenience, not a good ieason when the goal is to
estallish the inalienalle iights ol all leings loin hunan. Foi one case ol the sulaltein-
ization ol the Ronany, see Spivak, A Critiquc, qo6.
qo Spivak, !npcrutivcs, 68. Maishall Sahlins lays out the geneial chaiacteiistics ol these
delects in his Stcnc Agc Eccncnics (NewYoik: de Giuytei, ;z). Sahlins also points at the
olvious alsence ol a pullic spheie in such social loinations. I an giatelul to Heniy
Staten loi liinging this look to ny attention.
q As I will nention latei in connection with Anthony Giddenss Bcycnd Lcjt und Rignt. Tnc
Futurc cj Rudicu| Pc|itics (Stanloid: Stanloid Univeisity Piess, q), I an not extolling
the viitues ol poveity, not even the Chiistian viitues ol poveity, as does Sahlins ly asso-
ciation (Stcnc Agc, z). I an only inteiested in liinging those viitues alove, and con-
cuiiently instilling the piinciples ol a pullic spheie lelow, teaching at loth ends ol the
574 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
spectiun. Foi, lion the point ol view ol the asynnetiy ol what I an calling class apait-
heid in the glolal South, a iesponsilility-lased disenlianchised stagnating cultuie lelt
to itsell can only le desciiled, in its cuiient status within the nodein nation-state, as a
ieveisal ol possessive individualisn, the tiagedy ol negative individuality oi individu-
alisn (Etienne Balilai, Possessive Individualisn Revisited: [An Issue in Philosophical
Individualisn|, unpullished nanusciipt).
qz Maix, Conceining Feueilach, in Eur|y Writings, tians. Rodney Livingstone (NewYoik:
Vintage, ;), qzz, tianslation nodied.
q Maix, The Tiinity Foinula, inCupitu|. ACritiquc cj Pc|iticu| Eccncny, vol. , tians. David
Feinlach (New Yoik: Vintage, 8), ;o.
qq I will le developing this concept-netaphoi ol sutuiing as a desciiption ol piactice. To
situate this within Maixist thought, see Callinicoss gloss on Maixs discussion ol ieli-
gion: Religious illusions . . . will suivive any puiely intellectual ielutation so long as the
social conditions which pioduced then continue to exist (Callinicos, Scciu| Tnccry, 8
8q). I would not, ol couise, accept the illusion[tiuth linaiy and would theieloie activate
and undo-ieweave lion within the inaginative iesouices ol the eailiei cultuial loina-
tionolten called ieligiousin oidei loi any lion-alove change in social condition to
last. This undo-ieweave is sutuie, the nodel ol pedagogy lelow. What nust le kept
in nind is that the sane applies to consciousness-iaising style iadical teaching alove.
The piollen with ieligious lundanentalisn, the politicizing ol elite ieligions, is not
that they aie ieligions, lut that they aie elite in leadeiship. See also Callinicos, Scciu|
Tnccry, oo.
q Inteiestingly enough, this veiy passage was used in a speech entitled Responsilility:
The Piice ol Gieatness ly Anthony F. Eailey ]i., Detioit Edison Chaiinan and Chiel
Executive Ocei, at a conleience on Business Ethics, Integiity and Values: A Glolal Pei-
spective, on Maich z, . Chuichills own speech, nade at Haivaid on Monday Sep-
tenlei 6, q, was piecisely alout the United States as the savioi ol the woild: One
cannot iise to le in nany ways the leading connunity in the civilised woild without
leing involved in its piollens, without leing convulsed ly its agonies and inspiied ly its
causes. I an giatelul to Lecia Rosenthal loi liinging these connections to ny attention.
The point ol ny hunlle expeiinent is that the textuial inpeiatives ol such iesponsi-
lility, acknowledged in the national political and coipoiate spheie, the inteinalized ieex
to save the enviionnent, loi exanple, do not lollow autonatically.
q6 Muddying the Wateis, availalle online at www.annesty.it[ailil[aipul[8[IOR[
qoooz8.htn, enphasis nine.
q; Foi a discussion ol the contiadiction letween individualisn (iights) and connunality
(olligations) when they aie seen in a lineai way, see Tuck, Nuturu| Rignts, 8z.
q8 Ennanuel Levinas, Tctu|ity und !nnity. An Essuy cn Etcricrity, tians. Alphonso Lingis
(Pittsluigh: Duquesne Univeisity Piess, 6 [ist Fiench edition 6|), z66.
q Deiiida, Mcnc|inguu|isn cj tnc Otncr, cr, tnc Prcstncsis cj Origin, tians. Patiick Mensah
(Stanloid: Stanloid Univeisity Piess, 8), ;o;z.
o Indeed, that sentinent is inplicit in the veiy last line ol Spivak, A Critiquc: The scholai-
ship on Deiiidas ethical tuin . . . , when in the iaie case it iisks setting itsell to woik ly
lieaking its liane, is still not identical with the setting to woik ol deconstiuction outside
the loinalizing calculus specic to the acadenic institution ( q). It nust, howevei, le
Rignting Wrcngs 575
said, that in Euiopean lion-alove discussions, it is the so-called poststiuctuialists who
aie insistent not only on questioning a llind laith in the iational alstiactions ol denoc-
iacy, lut also in iecognizing that top-down hunan iights enloicenent is not deno-
ciatic even ly these teins. See, loi exanple, the stiong olections iaised ly Foucault,
Lyotaid, and Deiiida altei Claude Leloits clain that [a| politics ol hunan iights and a
denociatic politics aie thus two ways ol iesponding to the sane need (Claude Leloit,
Politics ol Hunan Rights, in Tnc Pc|iticu| Fcrns cj Mcdcrn Sccicty. Burcuucrucy, Dcncc-
rucy, Tctu|ituriunisn, tians. Alan Sheiidan [Canliidge: The MIT Piess, 86|, z;z. The
discussion is to le lound in La question de la denociatie, in Denis Kanlouchnei, ed.,
Lc Rctruit du pc|itiquc [Paiis: Galile, 8|, ;88). I have iecently iead Deiiida, Intei-
pietations at Wai: Kant, the ]ew, the Geinan, wheie Deiiida tiaces the genealogy ol the
Euio-U.S. sulect who dispenses hunan iights, with uncanny claiity (in Acts cj Rc|igicn,
tians. Gil Anidai [New Yoik: Routledge, zooz|, 88).
Giddens, Bcycnd Lcjt und Rignt, quotations lion6, zq;, 8q, 8, o, q. Thiid Way
was, I lelieve, coined in a Falian Society panphlet (Tony Blaii, Ncw Pc|itics jcr tnc Ncw
Ccntury [London: College Hill Piess, 8|) conned to policies ol a Euiopean Biitain. I
an giatelul to Susan M. Biook loi getting ne this panphlet. It was used ly Bill Clinton
in a iound-talle discussion sponsoied ly the Denociatic Leadeiship Council in Wash-
ington, D.C., on Apiil z, .
z Giddens, Bcycnd Lcjt und Rignt, ;.
I have discussed the iole ol teaching in the loination ol collectivities in Schnitt and
Post Stuctuialisn: A Response, Curdczc Luw Rcvicw z.6 (May zooo): ;z;. Nec-
essaiy lut inpossille taskslike taking caie ol health although it is inpossille to le
innoital, oi continuing to listen, iead, wiite, talk, and teach although it is inpossille
that eveiything le connunicatedlead to ienewed and peisistent eoit. I use this loi-
nula lecause this is the only ustication loi Hunanities pedagogy. This is distinct lion
the utopian node, which allows us to guie the inpossille.
q ]ohn Rawls, The Law ol Peoples, in Shute and Huiley, On !unun Rignts, 6. I have a
peivasive olection to Rawlss discipline-lound philosophical style ol tieating political
piollens lut lelt neivous alout stating it. I leel sone ieliel in Geoige Shelton, Mcru|ity
und Scvcrcignty, ;, wheie the authoi expiesses sinilai olections. Callinicos desciiles
such Rawlsian iequiienents as wildly Utopian, oeis an excuse, and then goes on to
say neveitheless, sone account is iequiied ol the ielationship letween alstiact noins
and the histoiical conditions ol theii iealization (Scciu| Tnccry, q).
Maix, Cupitu| :o6 puts it in a paiagiaph, in the node ol to cone.
6 I gave an account ol this so-called poststate woild in A Critiquc, ;q.
; Daniel M. Faiiell, Holles and Inteinational Relations, in Caws, Cuuscs cj Quurrc|, ;;.
8 Foi an idea ol the lest in the Cultuial Studies account ol glolalization, see Pub|ic Cu|turc
z. (Wintei zooo).
I cite lelowthe Kogut and Singh Index loi Cultuial Distance (88), aninpoitant tool loi
nanagenent. It will give a sense ol the distance letween those whose wiongs aie iighted
and the agents ol coipoiate philanthiopy, closely linked to hunan iights expendituie:
We hypothesize that the noie cultuially distant the countiy ol the investing in lion
the Unites States, the noie likely the choice to set up a oint ventuie. Using Holstedes
indices, a conposite index was loined lased on the deviation along each ol the loui cul-
576 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
tuial dinensions (i.e., powei distance, unceitainty avoidance, nasculinity[lenininity,
and individualisn) ol each countiy lion the Unites States ianking. The deviations weie
coiiected loi dieiences in the vaiiances ol each dinension and then aiithnetically avei-
aged. Algeliaically, we luilt the lollowing index:

CDj = ](!ij!iu).Vi},
wheie !ij stands loi the index loi the ith cultuial dinension and jth countiy, Vi is the vaii-
ance ol the index ol the ith dinension, u indicates the Unites States, and CDj is cultuial
dieience ol the jth countiy lion the United States (Biuce Kogut and Haiindei Singh,
The Eect ol National Cultuie on the Choice ol Entiy Mode, ]curnu| cj !ntcrnuticnu|
Busincss Studics [88|: qzz).
6o Pat Snith and Lynn Roney, Wcw tnc Dcw! Tnc Ccnp|ctc Guidc tc Tcucning Ycur Kids !cw
tc !nvcst in tnc Stcck Murkct (NewYoik: Sinon and Schustei, zooo), 8. Sone othei looks
aie Roleit T. Kiyosaki with Shaion L. Lechtei, Ricn Dud Pccr Dud. Wnut tnc Ricn Tcucn
Tncir Kids ubcut McncyTnut tnc Pccr und Midd|c C|uss Dc Nct! (NewYoik: Wainei Books,
zooo), Gail Kailitz and Dellie Honig, Grcwing Mcncy. ACcnp|ctc !nvcsting Guidc jcr Kids
(New Yoik: Piice Stein Sloan, ), and Diane Mayi, Tnc Evcrytning Kids Mcncy Bcck.
Frcn Suving tc Spcnding tc !nvcstingLcurn A|| ubcut Mcncy! (Holliook, MA: Adans
Media Coip., zooo), Ennanuel Modu and Andiea Walkei, Tccnvcstcr.ccn. Tnc Pructi-
cu| !nvcstncnt Guidc jcr Tccns und Tncir Purcnts (Newaik: Gateway, zooo), Willaid S. and
WillianS. Stawski, Kids, Purcnts und Mcncy. Tcucning Pcrscnu| Finuncc jrcnPiggy Bunk tc
Prcn(NewYoik: ]ohnWiley, zooo), ]anet Banloid, Strcct Wisc. AGuidc jcr Tccn !nvcstcrs
(New Yoik: Bloonleig, zooo). This inloination is taken lion ny Glolalizing Glolal-
ization, loithconing in Rctninking Murisn.
6 Heie aie passages lion one ol nany undeigiaduate textlooks (Heniy Assael, Ccnsuncr
Bcnuvicr und Murkcting Acticn [Cincinnati: South-Westein College Pullishing, |).
This is standaid Cultuial Studies stu, lut the ienindei ienains necessaiy. the lanality
ol these exceipts ieninds us not to le alsuidly out ol touch when a Giddens coun-
sels antipioductivisn: In a study, Canplells Soup lound that the nen who aie nost
likely to shop view thenselves as lileiated, consideiate, achievenent-oiiented individu-
als. These aie the types ol nales who do not leel the need to conlointo a nacho inage.
As a iesult, a second change has occuiied in nale puichasing ioles: Males aie leginning
to luy pioducts that at one tine night have leen disnissed as too leninineeweliy,
skincaie pioducts, noistuiizeis, andcosnetics. Innaiketing these pioducts, adveitiseis
have had to depict nales in a way that is veiy dieient lion the tiaditional stiong, nas-
culine inage ol the Mailloio Cowloy oi in the typical leei conneicial. A new concept
ol nasculinity has eneigedthe sensitive nale who is as vulneialle in nany ways as
his lenale counteipait. As a iesult, a giowing nunlei ol adveitiseis have legun telling
nales that leing sensitive and caiing does not conict with nasculinity (86).
Psychoanalytic theoiy stiesses the unconscious natuie ol consunei notives as detei-
nined in childhood ly the conicting denands ol the id and the supeiego. Maiketeis
have applied psychoanalytic theoiy ly using depth and locus gioup inteiviews and pio-
Rignting Wrcngs 577
ective techniques to uncovei deep-seated puichasing notives. These applications aie
known as notivation ieseaich (qoq).
The lioadest enviionnental lactoi aecting consunei lehavioi is cu|turc, as ieected
ly the values and noins society enphasizes. Pioducts and seivices such as Levi eans,
Coca-Cola, and McDonalds last-lood outlets have cone to synlolize the individuality
inheient inAneiicanvalues. This is one ieasonwhy East Geinans quickly accepted Coke
altei the lall ol the Beilin Wall (q).
This is the doninant geneial glolal cultuial loination, appiopiiating the enei-
gentleninisn, psychoanalysis, cultuial studies, now enviionnentalisnienenlei
ny hunlle expeiinent in the Colunlia gyn and take a look at Ruth La Feila, Fash-
ionistas, Ecoliiendly and All-Natuial (Tnc Ncw Ycrk Tincs, ]uly , zoo). The Deiiida-
Levinas line, il it weie undeistoodas a cultuial loinationiathei thananethical phenone-
nology, is an altogethei ninoi enclave conpaied to this and will showup tiansnogiied
on the doninant iegistei any day now.
6z ]ohn P. Claik, Gcing witn tnc Cusn F|cw. Tucisnund tnc Ncw Munugcriu| Wisdcn, availalle
online a www.liitannica.con(viewed May zooo), and Thonas V. Moiiis, !j Aristct|c Run
Gcncru| Mctcrs. Tnc Ncw Scu| cj Busincss (NewYoik: Heniy Holt, ;). Exanples can le
6 Paulo Fieiie, Pcdugcgy cj tnc Opprcsscd, tians. Myia Beignan Ranos (New Yoik: Con-
tinuun, 8), z.
6q Oui Voice, Bangkok NGO Declaiation, availalle online at www.nativenet.uthsca.edu[
6 A woid on the aloiiginal-untouchalle divide. I wain the ieadei, once again, that this is
not the veision ol an acadenic histoiian oi anthiopologist, lut a sunnaiy ol the naiia-
tive onwhich Indianconstitutional sanctions aie lased. This naiiative assunes that theie
weie udivusi-s oi oiiginal inhalitants in what we now call India, when, in the second
nillenniun .., Indo-Euiopean speaking peoples legan to colonize that space. These
aie the aloiiginals oi tiilals, and theie aie 6;,;8,8o ol then ly the census.
The constitution distinguishes letween then and the Hindu untouchalles. The consti-
tution designates then as SCSTs (Scheduled Castes[Scheduled Tiiles). I have ieleiied
inplicitly to this naiiative in note 8. Because this distinction letween colonizing Cau-
casians (the Indo-Euiopean-speaking peoples) and the aloiiginals pie-dates the colonial
Euiopean nodels ly so nuch, the lattei cannot seive us as guides heie. In the eaily days
ol the Indian case, theie was lilingualisn and othei kinds ol assinilation. Without ven-
tuiing into contested acadenic teiiitoiy, it can still le said that they aie lasically aninist,
and ietain tiaces ol theii sepaiate languages.
66 Between ny talk in Feliuaiy zoo and this ievision, I have told this nan, one ol ny
chiel allies in the education, land ieclain, and ecological agiicultuie pioects in the aiea,
that I had spoken ol the incident alioad. He told ne that he had thought veiy caielully
alout the incident and it had leen a leaining expeiience loi hin (as indeed loi ne). One
night ienenlei that I have eained theii tiust ly lehaving quite dieiently lion eithei
caste-Hindus oi NGO visitois in a sustained way ovei a nunlei ol yeais and that they
aie as despeiate to nd a lettei lutuie loi theii childien, without iepeicussions, as aie
578 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
6; Because these snall, disenlianchised iesponsilility-lased cultuies have not leen al-
lowed entiy into the piogiessive legitination ol the colony, they have ienained econo-
nies oiganized ly donestic gioups and kinship ielations and yet leen iecoded as vcting
citizens ol pailianentaiy denociacies without inaginative access to a pullic spheie.
Foi then, without the caiing pedagogy that I will le outlining, the distance letween
poles ol iecipiocity . . . has ienained [an anachionistic| social distance, without inagi-
native access to the connonality ol citizenship. The quoted phiases aie lion Sahlins,
Stcnc Agc, q, . Il this seens too last, llane the postcolonial state and please ienen-
lei that a) the nodel heie is not Austialia, Latin Aneiica, Aliica, this is a piecolonial
settlei colony, and l) that I an not theie to study then lut to leain lion the childien
how to le theii teachei. In the United States, too, I can talk alout teaching lut cannot
wiite loi Aneiican Studies.
68 I lelieve lecause Maishal Sahlins intuits this that he delends Maicel Mausss Essuy cn tnc
Gijt against disciplinaiy ciiticisn ol loin and[oi content, although he iecognizes that it
is an idiosynciatic ventuie . . . , unustied noieovei ly any special study ol the Maoii
oi ol the philosopheis . . . invoked along the way. Sahlins is wiiting alout the econonic
calculus, lut in his connents on Mauss, he touches iesponsilility, only to tiansloin it,
via Mauss, into the piinciple ol ieason (Sahlins, Stcnc Agc, q, 686, ;). As loi hin-
sell, he ends his look in the node ol a supplenented capitalisn to cone: A piinitive
theoiy ol exchange value is also necessaiy, and peihaps possillewithout saying it yet
exists (q). This is consonant with ny sense that the ethical push loi socialisn nust
cone lion cultuial loinations delective loi capitalisn.
6 ]ustine Builey, ed., Tnc Gcnctic Rcvc|uticn und !unun Rignts (Oxloid: Oxloid Univeisity
Piess, ).
;o I an no philosophei, lut this is undoultedly why the latei Wittgenstein was inteiested
in childiens acquisition ol language (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Pni|cscpnicu| !nvcstiguticns,
tians. G. E. M. Ansconle (NewYoik: Macnillan, ;z [|) paiagiaphs z, zoo, zo8).
To nention the pait ol the nind that dieans would le to nuddy the wateis with aigu-
nents loi and against Fieud.
; Luce Iiigaiay, The Fecundity ol the Caiess, in Richaid A. Cohen, ed., Fucc tc Fucc witn
Lcvinus (Allany: SUNY Piess, 86), z6.
;z This case has leen discussed in Spivak, The New Sulaltein: A Silent Inteiview, in
Mupping Subu|tcrn Studics und tnc Pcstcc|cniu|, ed. Vinayak Chatuivedi (London: Veiso,
zooo), 6, and in Spivak, Discussion: An Alteiwoid on the New Sulaltein, in
Paitha Chatteiee and Piadeep ]eganathan, eds., Ccnnunity, Gcndcr, und Vic|cncc. Sub-
u|tcrn Studics X! (New Yoik: Colunlia Univeisity Piess, zooo), zqqo.
; I say supposedly lecause the Hindu population ol India, sonewheie letween ;oo nil-
lion and 8o nillion (the zoo census guies weie not availalle), is, ol couise, not iepie-
sented ly the pooi iuial Hindus, although they thenselves think ol Hinduisn genei-
ally as a unied set ol codes. They aie geneially pieudiced against SCSTs in theii iuial
poveity, lut they aie not theieloie in the cultuial doninant. This is why Raynond Wil-
lians, who intioduced the poweilul instiunent ol seeing a cultuie as a dance ol aichaic-
iesidual-doninant-eneigent, pioposed it as a solution to the halit ol seeing cultuies as
a systen iathei than a piocess (Willians, Murisn und Litcruturc [Oxloid: Oxloid Uni-
Rignting Wrcngs 579
veisity Piess, ;;|, zz;). It is inteiesting that the inuential ouinal Eccncnic und
Pc|iticu| Wcck|y has this to say alout giowing denociacy: It iequiies sustained eoit at
institution luilding, tianspaiency in goveinnent, eective goveinance and nost inpoi-
tantly the iule ol law (Econonic and Political Weekly, ]une , zoo, zo). Only lene-
t ol the doult would iead the ist iten as pioactive educational eoit.
;q I hesitate to nane these paities lecause pait ol ny point is piecisely that, when no ieal
education is given, the ideational content ol a paitys platloin does not coincide with
the held opinions ol the iuial electoiate, who do not heai these ideas except thiough the
opaque high Bengali disquisitions at nass iallies. As it happens, the iuling paity in this
case is the Connunist Paity ol India (Maixist) (CPM) and the opposition paities aie
Bhaiatiya ]anata Paity (B]P[Hindu nationalist) and Tiinonul (a splintei ol the CPM). To
considei this conict inteins ol Connunisnand lundanentalisnwould le a conplete
; Maix, The Eighteenth Biunaiie ol Louis Bonapaite, in Survcys FrcnEi|c, tians. David
Feinlach (New Yoik: Vintage, ;), q;, tianslation nodied.
;6 Cathaiine A. MacKinnon, Ciines-Wai, Ciines-Peace, in Shute and Huiley, !unun
Rignts, 8q.
;; Caiole Patenan, Tnc Scuu| Ccntruct (Canliidge: Polity Piess, 88), x, the next pas-
sage quoted is on 6o. I an not, ol couise, speaking ol the piovenance ol social contiact
theoiies lut iathei ol histoiical vaiiations on sonething like actual social contiacts.
;8 Paine, Rignts cj Mun, ;.
; Willian Sackstedei, Mutually Acceptalle Gloiy, in Caws, Cuuscs cj Quurrc|, o.
8o Foi an unciitical sunnaiy ol this cultuial loination as univeisal histoiy, see Ronald
Reagan, Fiee Enteipiise, Radio Essay (;), ietiieved lion www.ncwycrktincs.ccn.
8 We should not loiget that Kant xed the sulect ol the Enlightennent as one who could
wiite loi posteiity and the whole woild us u scnc|ur (Innanuel Kant, An Answei to
the Question: What Is Enlightennent? in ]anes Schnidt, ed., Wnut !s En|igntcnncnt
Eigntccntn-Ccntury Answcrs und Twcntictn-Ccntury Qucsticns [Beikeley: Univeisity ol Cali-
loinia Piess, 6|, 6o6). As the ieadei will see, oui eoit is to sutuie a cultuial
insciiption iathei unlike Kants into the thinking and piactice ol the pullic spheie and
an education that will not pieseive class apaitheid. An unintended posteiity, a woild not
inagined ly hin as paiticipant in the cosnopolitical.
8z Thonas Balington Macaulay, Minute on Indian Education, in Spcccncs by Lcrd Muc-
uu|uy witn nis Minutc cn !ndiun Educuticn (Oxloid: Oxloid Univeisity Piess, ), q.
When Khushwant Singh, an Indian wiitei in English, opined last yeai that you could say
llue sky a nillion dieient ways in English, wheieas in Hindi you could only say neela
asnan, I iealizedthe lailuie ol Vidyasagais expeiinent. The piollen, thenas now, is the
one I have alieady indicated: one English, the supeil and supple, technologically adioit
language ol the victoi, the nany languages ol the vanquished, iestiicted peinealility.
Going down is easy, coning up is haid. The Foid Foundation can iun a piogian called
Ciossing Boideis. But the liteiatuies in the donestic languages aie dying. And even
this is a niddle-class nattei. Let us go lack to the iuial pooi.
8 Iswaichandia Vidyasagai, Burnupuricnuyu (Calcutta: Beninadhal Sheel, n.d.).
8q Binaylhushan Ray, Shikkhashai theke BainapaiichayaShonaei Shange Shishu-
580 Guyutri Cnukruvcrty Spivuk
Patthyei Paiilaitan Akuduni Putriku 6 (May q): z6z, nakes no nention ol the
expeiinental pedagogy ol the text and the Xeioxes seen to have leen oltained lion the
India Oce Liliaiy in London.
8 Foi sell-ethnogiaphy, see Rosalind Moiiis, !n tnc P|ucc cj Origins. Mcdcrnity und !ts
Mcdiuns in Ncrtncrn Tnui|und (Duihan: Duke Univeisity Piess, zooo).
86 The nessage ieads as lollows: Sii, give us a tule well. We will diink watei. Give it now.
We aie thiisty.
8; ) Alani Salai, z) Kalononi Salai, ) Bhaiat Salai, q) Shaynoli Salai (Seiially oideied
in Bengali alphalet): Salai hanlet, vill: P.O: Police Station: Manlaai Distiict: Puiulia,
(nane ol ocei) Kolkata.
88 I have explained this phenonenon in Megacity, Grcy Rccn, no. (Fall zooo): 8z.
8 W. E. B. DuBois, Ol Mi. Bookei T. Washington and Otheis, in Tnc Scu|s cj B|uck Fc|k
(New Yoik: Signet, [o|), ;8.
o ]eanPiaget, Tnc Mcru| ]udgncnt cj Cni|drcn, tians. Maioiie Galain(NewYoik: Fiee Piess,
6), qo6. This dieience letween saying and doing is olten honoied ly the lest sayeis.
Thus Sahlins distinguishes letween a conventional netaphoi ol exposition and a tiue
histoiy ol expeiinent (Sahlins, Stcnc Agc, z).
Isaiah Beilin, Tnc !cdgcncg und tnc Fc. An Essuy cn Tc|stcys Vicw cj !istcry (New Yoik:
Sinon and Schustei, 86 [|).
z This point cannot le developed heie. Please see Spivak, Fion Haveistock Hill Flat to
U.S. Classioon, Whats Lelt ol Theoiy? in ]udith Butlei ]ohn Guilloiy, Kendall Thonas,
eds., Wnuts Lcjt cj Tnccry Ncw Wcrk cn tnc Pc|itics cj Litcrury Tnccry (New Yoik: Rout-
ledge, zooo), qo.
Please notice this eailiei iepetition ol points nade in the cuiient essay. The piece itsell
was not alout hunan iights and the Hunanities lut alout what I have leained lion
the oial loinulaic as piacticed ly the wonen in Manlhun: In a nodeinist liteiaiy
scholai. Acknowledged ieseaich nethods in ny eld would le to lollow the lile-detail
ol the authoi oi authois leyond the denitive liogiaphy, lollow thiough on peitinent
itens indicated in the coiiespondence and in inteiviews, check the ielationship letween
the ciitical and cieative nateiials, and ol couise, consult the ciitical tiadition exhaus-
tively. Theie is no iequiienent that the nethod ol connecting these details go leyond
the sinplest cause-eect stiuctuie.
No such ieseaich nethod has leen lollowed in this alteinoons papei.
My souices ol speculationaie sone woneninManlhunand a nanlionBiilhun. It
occuis to ne that an alteinative ieseaich nethod could have leen lollowed heie. I could
have consulted what anthiopological and histoiical liteiatuie is availalle on the Kheiiyas
and the Dhekaios, the gioups to which these people lelong. With the lattei, it is the veiy
question ol lelonging that is leing negotiated. Theie is nothing ol that in this papei
To tell youthe tiuth, the papei is hopelessly anecdotal. I have tiiedto encouiage nysell
ly saying that the anecdotes have sonething ol the evidentiaiy contingence ol the lit-
eiaiy. Depth iathei than lieadth ol evidence? Who knows? I place the lacts in place ol
lootnotes: I have leen tiaining teacheis in Manlhun loi the last ten yeais. My nethod
is sinple: to see how the students aie leaining and not leaining, on the lasis ol these, to
give sinple piactical instiuctions to the teachei. . . .
Rignting Wrcngs 581
Because I woik haid to change this state ol aaiis, lecause I leed the childien a hot
neal a day, and lecause I live with then when I do this woik a ceitain acceptance has
cone lionthe nen and wonen on the lasis ol which a nutual accountalility has giown.
My ustication is this. The exanples I oei nay seen sinple. But it has taken all this
woik to eain the iight to le a peison with whon these exanples could le pioduced, and
the iight to clain a ieading thats in the place ol liliaiy woik, detective woik, eldwoik.
Foi the ist lew yeais, talk alout this woik in piogiess seened loilidden, lecause
it was too liagile. Now it seens not only possille, lut called loi, yet the iisk ol iidicule
oi woise, unexanined congiatulations loon. Sonewhat against ny lettei udgnent,
then, I will add a woid specically alout the woik. In the eld ol sulaltein education, the
lest talk statistics, noney, school luildings, teacheis, textlooks and supplies. These aie
ne things. I an locused elsewheie. In the eld ol tiaining theie aie, ist, sone cases
ol altogethei lenevolent Euiocentiic yet cultuialist tiaining. I hesitate to nane nanes
lecause these aie, altei all, good people. The tiaining piovided ly the state is geneially
inleiioi and loinulaic and usually does not tiickle down to the level ol which I anspeak-
ing. The tiaining piovided ly activists is geneially lionalove and enphasizes conscious-
ness iaising: iights, iesistance, nationalisn, identity spliced on to liteiacy and nuneiacy.
My nethod is to leain lion lelow how to lashion, togethei, a way ol teaching that will
put in place ieexes oi halits ol nind loi which the shoitcut nane is denociacy. Since
this is the laigest sectoi ol the lutuie electoiate, ny leliel is that without the halit ol
denociacy, no ieloinwill last. To nake visille the lines ol loice heie, I oei ny ist anec-
dote, ly way ol pieanlle (Tiavel and the Nation, Maiy Keating Das Lectuie, Colunlia
Univeisity, Maich zooo).
q I an giatelul to Heniy Staten loi the lelicitous woid Civi|izuticnisn.
Maix, Cupitu| :, tianslation nodied.
6 Foi an exanple ol involving the childien ol exploitation in intense nutnu knutunc on the
othei side, see ]ohn Tieiney, Heie Cone the Alpha Pups, Ncw Ycrk Tincs Muguzinc,
August , zoo, 8q.
; Giddens, Bcycnd Lcjt und Rignt, q.
Copyright of South Atlantic Quarterly is the property of Duke University Press and its content may not be
copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written
permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.