The Racial and Colonial Politics of the Modern Object of Knowledge: Cautionary Notes on "Scripture"

Document Type

Book Chapter


International and Intercultural Studies (Pitzer)

Publication Date



Other, Spivak, scriptures, object, politics, appropriation


How might we reconsider the topic of "scriptures" in the midst of what the African historian Steve Feierman has called the "general epistemological crisis affecting all the social sciences and humanities"? We find ourselves at sea in this crisis every time we write, not just when explicitly describing the other, and can only navigate its politics successfully if we recognize the dangers of what Emmanuel Levinas termed an ontological imperialism where otherness vanishes as part of the same of modernity.

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© 2008 Rutgers University Press