Can the Subaltern Speak?

Two Works Series Vol.1



ISBN: 9783960989004 Category:

Estenfanía Peñafiel Loaiza


In 1985 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s seminal essay, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak’ transformed the analysis of colonialism. In a deeply divided world Spivak’s text interrogated the historical and ideological factors that, by obstructing the potential for certain subjects to be heard, maintained the degraded status of those subjects on the world’s peripheries. The text remains, in the third decade of the twenty-first century, as compelling as ever, and affirms the continuing relevance of Marxism to contemporary decolonial thought.

In this volume, the essay is given new life in dialogue with especially commissioned artwork by Ecuadorian artist Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza. Loaiza’s preoccupation with questions of visibility and occlusion, the need for and absence of the image, has guide the creation of a mesmerising set of works. These form a visual vocabulary that echoes and refracts Spivak’s central terms, bringing new inflections to an enduringly important text.

Additional information

Weight 306 g
Dimensions 15.2 x 21.1 cm
Publisher name Walther & Franz König
Publication date 31 August 2021
Number of pages 148
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Text by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Dimensions 15.2 x 21.1 cm
Weight 306 g


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Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Born 1942 in India, Spivak lives and works in New York. She is a scholar, literary theorist and feminist critic, regarded as one of the most important figureheads of postcolonial studies. She is a professor at Columbia University and a founding member of the establishment's Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. In 2012 she was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy, and in 2013 she received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award given by the Republic of India. Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza Born 1978 in Quito, Ecuador, Peñafiel Loaiza lives and works in Paris. A graduate of the Beaux-Arts de Paris, she obtained a post-graduate degree at ENSBA-Lyon and was part of the 'La Seine' research programme at the ENSBA in Paris. Among other distinctions, she has been awarded the Prix Ardoin (Institut de France, Académie des Beaux-Arts, 2007) and the Mariano Aguilera Prize for Contemporary Art (Municipality of Quito, Ecuador, 2014). In 2019 she was nominated for the Prix Fondation d'Entreprise Ricard, and was made a laureate fellow at l'Académie de France à Rome - Villa Médicis for the year 2020-2021.