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Excerpts from a keynote address to the US Nation­al Wom­en’s Stud­ies Asso­ci­a­tion, by the world-famous schol­ar of decon­struc­tion­ism Gay­a­tri Spi­vak. She takes as her theme the ques­tion from her best-known essay: Can the sub­al­tern speak? The relat­ed ques­tion embed­ded in the talk is: if she speaks, can she be prop­er­ly under­stood, when the lis­ten­ers super­im­pose their own con­text, lan­guage, and expec­ta­tions on the mes­sages of those they see as low­ly. Glob­al fem­i­nism is unfold­ing in a con­text of aggres­sive finan­cial­iza­tion of the whole world; to have any bal­ance requires the agents of devel­op­ment learn­ing to listen.Gayatri Spi­vak is Pro­fes­sor of Human­i­ties at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty and the co-founder of the Insti­tute for Com­par­a­tive Lit­er­a­ture and Soci­ety. She also runs four pri­ma­ry schools in India. She became famous ear­ly in her career for trans­lat­ing and com­ment­ing on Jacques Der­ri­da’s sem­i­nal work Of Grammatology.