Still not convinced that Spivak is the smartest of the smart, as well as the toughest of all tough theorists? Well, check this out: homegirl schooled the great Judith Butler for not knowing about the Partition of India, and for her loyalty to Hannah Arendt. (See the talks they gave together and later published as Who Sings the Nation State to get the whole scoop.) And Judith Butler is a pretty darn intimidating scholar.
Oh, and remember Terry Eagleton's critique of Spivak's writing style? It prompted a set of defenses of Spivak (keep scrolling down to the bottom of the page, and they'll be there; or go here instead) that speak volumes about what people see in her. These aren't just shout-outs but full-blown odes to Professor Spivak from people as high and mighty as Butler herself… even though Spivak critiqued her. We think that if the people you sometimes criticize are on your side, you must be one imposing theorist.
The New York Times ran an informative and often hilarious profile of Spivak in 2002. Read it for excellent academic gossip, for a taste of Spivak's public persona, and for some of her colleagues' thoughts on her work.
In 2013, Spivak was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India's very highest awards for civilians. Think you can top that? Thought not.