Planetary Loves: Spivak, Postcoloniality, and Theology

Planetary Loves: Spivak, Postcoloniality, and Theology

Planetary Loves: Spivak, Postcoloniality, and Theology

Planetary Loves: Spivak, Postcoloniality, and Theology

Synopsis

Postcolonial theology has recently emerged as a site of intense intellectual and political energy and has taken its place in the interdisciplinary field of postcolonial studies. This volume is animated by the conviction that postcolonial theology is now ready for a second, deeper phase of engagement with postcolonial theory, one that moves beyond the general to the specific. No critic has been more emblematic of the challenging and contested field of postcolonial theory than Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. In this volume, the product of a theological colloquium in which Spivak herself participated, theologians and biblical scholars engage with her thought in order to catalyze a diverse range of original theological and exegetical projects. The volume opens with a "topography" of postcolonial theology and also includes other valuable introductory essays. At the center of the collection are transcriptions of two extended public dialogues with Spivak on theology and religion in general. A further dozen essays appropriate Spivak's work for theological and ethical reflection. The volume is also significant for the larger field of postcolonial studies in that it is the first to focus centrally on Spivak's immensely suggestive and vital concept of "planetarity."

Excerpt

Mayra Rivera and Stephen D. Moore

As the crow flies, the Theological School at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, is less than thirty miles from the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York City. in other respects, of course, the distance between these two institutional spaces is absolute: they occupy two parallel discursive dimensions that, left to their own devices, would extend to infinity without ever intersecting. On the afternoon of November 2, 2007, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia’s most distinguished literary scholar, and arguably the most influential literary and cultural critic on the planet (although the term “planet” resists casual usage after Spivak: she has turned it into a complex philosophical concept), stepped through the portal between these parallel dimensions to attend the seventh Drew Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquium (henceforth, TTC7).

This, however, was not her first encounter with the strange tribe of theologians. Peter Goodwin Heltzel, whose office had been contiguous to Spivak’s the previous year, had been bold enough to invite her to meet informally with him and certain other theologians with an interest in her work, and Spivak had been bold enough to accept. Thus it was that Peter Heltzel, Mayra Rivera, Lester Edwin J. Ruiz, and Mark Lewis Taylor sat down for a conversation with Spivak in New York Theological Seminary on April 26, 2006. Professor Spivak must not have found the experience entirely disagreeable, because when Catherine Keller and Stephen Moore, organizers of TTC7, got wind of it and invited Spivak to participate in a more formal and more public conversation around her work in its relation . . .

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