They Say, I Say

“Planetarity,” written by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, stresses the importance of literature and the consequences of the current state, which revolves around the term “globalization.” Throughout this third chapter of her novel Death of a Discipline, she speaks of the limitations that occur as a result, stating that globalization is the “imposition of the same system of exchange everywhere” (72). Spivak views globalization as a border that separates entire humanities, both inescapable and impossible to ignore. Furthermore, she describes the aspects taken into consideration, such as geographical borders (latitudes and longitudes) and capital, and the reasons why these should not play a big role in current society.

Thus, Spivak proposes that ‘globalization’ be replaces with ‘planetary,’ a far more inclusive vision for the world. She explains such as “the globe is on our computers. No one lives there. It allows us to think that we can aim to control it. The planet is in the alterity, belonging to another system; and yet we inhibit it on loan” (72). In essence, Spivak is opting for more of an ecological approach instead of a capitalist approach, which is nearly impossible to argue against. Yet, however ideal this theory may sound, such a just utopia will never exist: not now, and certainly not in the future.

Human society is not evolving in an upward direction enough such that the world will be thought of as a whole, rather than individual parts forced together. Geographical borders are unchangeable, and will therefore remain a large presence. As a result, her attempt to rewrite the globe is intriguing and genuinely great, but does not fall within reason and therefore lacks importance.

However, the second point she makes, about colonization, contains a great amount of reality and cannot be contested by critics. Spivak makes the argument that “we must remember the older U.S. marginalities . . . and the heritage of older empires . . . Post-colonialism remained caught in mere nationalism over against colonialism” (81). This claim is thoroughly supported by evidence and rooted in truth. Too often is literature influenced by the ‘winners’ – the countries (namely the Western Hemisphere) that diminish the cultures of the locations and groups they take control of, either from a distance or by means of invasion.


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