At the 2015 Rhetoric Society of America Summer Institute in Madison, Wisconsin, Raka Shome led a three-day workshop entitled "'Subalternity' and 'Transnational Literacy': The Significance of Gayatri Spivak's Scholarship for Rhetoric and Communication Studies." In this episode of Rhetoricity, Dr. Shome explores how the work of Spivak, an influential feminist and postcolonial scholar, might speak to scholarship in the fields of rhetoric and communication.
First, Dr. Shome discusses the two key terms referenced in the workshop's title: "subalternity" and "transnational literacy." She argues that Spivak's work on subalternity takes up matters of voice and power--issues that rhetoric and communication scholars have long been concerned with--in ways that could challenge and enrich those fields' thinking on such matters. She also argues that Spivak's work on transnational literacy could help rhetoric and communication scholars address the geopolitical and globalized contexts and consequences of their work. Along the way, she discusses the limitations and possibilities of traditional identity politics.
Dr. Shome is the author of the book Diana and Beyond: White Femininity, National Identity, and Contemporary Media Culture, and she's served as a guest editor for special issues of the journals Communication Theory and Global Media and Communication. She is currently guest-editing an issue of Cultural Studies, Critical Methodologies with the theme "Gender, Nation, Colonialism: Twenty-First Century Connections." In fall 2015, she served as a senior fellow at the National University of Singapore.
If you're interested in more on the topics discussed in both this episode and Dr. Shome's workshop, check out the 2010 anthology Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea and Spivak's 2013 collection An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization.
Transition Music: "Silence" - Telephantom