Book Review: An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization, Gayatri C. Spivak

Vanessa Andreotti


An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (AEEG) has 25 essays spanning a period of 23 years and represents Spivak's cumulative retrospection on the meaning, difficulties, joys and paradoxes of teaching in the humanities focusing on the conflictual intersections of ethics, aesthetics and politics. The book has been described as an enthusiastic reminder of “pedagogy’s power to reach beyond the logic of capital” (Bari, 2012, p.1). The book offers a patterned mosaic of her pedagogical propositions, something that can be extremely useful for thinking education “otherwise.”

However, in order to give justice to Spivak’s propositions it is necessary to trace them back to the context of critique within which they emerged. Therefore, what I decided to do in this review article is to offer a very brief synthesis of Spivak’s critiques and propositions that I think are of most value to an “Other” education and, in order to do this, I will focus on her work as whole; not only her latest book...


Spivak; gloabalisation; aesthetic

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Andreotti, V. (2014). Conflicting epistemic demands in poststructuralist and postcolonial engagements with questions of complicity in systemic harm. the Journal of Educational Studies: A Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, 50(4), pp. 378-397.

Andreotti, V. (2012). Education, knowledge and the righting of wrongs. Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives, 1(1), pp. 19-31.

Andreotti, V. (2011). Actionable postcolonial theory in education. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Andreotti, V. (2007). An ethical engagement with the Other: Gayatri Spivak on education. Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices, 1(1), pp. 69-79.

Andreotti, V. & Souza, L. (Eds.). (2012). Postcolonial perspectives on global citizenship education. New York: Routledge.

Bari, S. (2012). Review of an Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization. Times Higher Education. Available online at: Last accessed: 1 August 2014.

Gaztambide-Fernández, R. (2014). Decolonial options and artistic/aestheSic entanglements: An interview with Walter Mignolo. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 3(1):196-212. Available online at:

Kapoor, I. (2004). Hyper-self-reflexive development? Spivak on representing the Third World “Other.” Third World Quarterly, 25(4), pp. 627-647.

McEwan, C. (2008). Postcolonialism and development. New York: Routledge.

Mignolo, W. (2011). The darker side of western modernity: Global futures, decolonial options. Durham: Duke University Press.

Quijano, A. (1999). Colonialidad del poder, cultura y conocimiento en América Latina. Dispositio, 24(51), pp. 137-148.

Maldonado-Torres, N. (2007). On the coloniality of Being: Contributions to the development of a concept. Cultural Studies, 21(2-3), pp. 240-270.

Spivak, G. (2004). Righting wrongs. The South Atlantic Quarterly, 103(2/3), pp. 523–81.

Spivak, G. (2012). An aesthetic education in the era of globalization. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Stein, S., Andreotti, V. (in press). Complicity, ethics and education: Political and existential readings of Spivak’s work. Accepted in Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices.

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