Study Guide

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak - Way Too Cool to Not Be In School!

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Way Too Cool to Not Be In School!

These good men and women believe, with Spivak, in the possibilities of education. They think that fighting the good fight is not just about damning the Man, but about educating the educators as well as their students. (See Marx's "Theses on Feuerbach" for more on "educating the educators.") This clique believes in making social change not just by getting young people to stay in school, but by establishing schools all over the world.

Karl Marx

You know this name. What you may not know, however, is that Marx thought education was of the utmost importance. Even if he didn't spend as much time discussing teaching as he did, say, plotting the overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat, Marx still gave education some special attention. See the third of his "Theses on Feuerbach" for solid evidence of Marx's school-lovin' soul.

Antonio Gramsci

This Italian Marxist died in prison after being jailed by the Fascists for his radical views. He has had a profound influence on Spivak (and many other theorists). His writings on education have proven especially decisive in Spivak's late work, which has looked more and more to the school as a primary site of ethical and political transformation.

Paulo Freire

This Brazilian activist is best known for his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which changed the way people think about the relationship between teacher and student. Though not a direct influence on Spivak—at least not that we know of—Freire also believed education was a primary instrument of social change.

Jacques Derrida

Whatever else he was—and there's no denying that he was many things—Derrida was a beloved teacher to many, including Spivak. His writings on education are few and far between, but they're decisive all the same.

bell hooks

That's right: those lower case letters are there for a reason. hooks doesn't capitalize her first or last name because she believes she's a noun just like any other. However, she does assign capital importance to pedagogy. And in this, she is Spivak's ally.

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