Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices, Vol 9, No 1 (2015)

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Notes on Spivak: What’s Left of Theory?

Robert Helfenbein


This article takes up the challenge to “wrestle with the angels” (see Introduction, this issue) by focusing on one particular chapter of Spivak’s (2012) An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (2012). In Chapter 9, Spivak raises the question of “What’s left of theory?”  She suggests that the importance lies not in an intellectual history of Marxism, but rather begins with a description of the “state of things” in ways that seem both insightful and necessarily cautionary for curriculum theorizing. Compelling here lies the stated need for an ethics beyond the poverty of ideas rooted in Enlightenment rationalism and a recognition of a new, if nested within a postcolonial history, logic of difference, and engages with author  around the notions of culture, hybridity, and spatial analysis.

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Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices is a non-commercial initiative committed to the ethical dissemination of academic research and educational thinking. CLTP acknowledges the thoughtful dedication of authors, editors and reviewers to develop and promote this open journal initiative. The journal receives copy-editing sponsorship from the Faculty of Education at the University of Oulu, Finland. CLTP has previously received  copy editing support from the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice at the University of Nottingham, UK.