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 What Has Love to Do with It? Planetarity, Feminism, and Theology K W O K P U I - L A N Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is one of those original thinkers whose work is pregnant with generative ideas that others can ‘‘work on’’ and ‘‘work with.’’ Those familiar with my book Discovering the Bible in the Non-Biblical World, published in 1995, will know that I have worked with her notion of the native in the master discourse to elucidate the inscription of the Syrophoenician woman in the Christian Gospels of Mark and Matthew.1 In my 1998 essay ‘‘Jesus/The Native,’’ which marked a breakthrough in my thinking on biblical scholarship, I used her concept of ‘‘in other worlds’’ to debunk Eurocentrism in biblical studies and warned against the self-orientalizing tendency of ‘‘native’’ scholars.2 Her critical formulation of ‘‘saving brown women from brown men’’ enabled me to elucidate in my contribution to Postcolonialism, Feminism, and Religious Discourse (2002) the colonial complicity in Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology.3 As Spivak has become increasingly critical of postcolonial studies and assumed the position of a transnational cultural critic,4 I found myself working out the preliminaries of a transnational feminist theology in the volume Off the Menu: Asian and Asian North American Women’s Religion and Theology (2007).5 All of these examples demonstrate that Spivak has cast a long shadow on my intellectual trajectory and my theological forays into postcolonialism. Spivak occupies the mind-boggling subject position of a feminist Marxist deconstructivist,6 and her work pushes each of these theories to its limits to see what each can learn from the others. As a postcolonial feminist theologian , I am situated on the margins of different bodies of thought— postcolonial theorists are skeptical of religion and theology; the cultural PAGE 31 ................. 17764$ $CH2 10-28-10 12:06:45 PS 32 兩 k w ok p u i- l a n dominant of feminism remains white; and mainstream theology is not only white but also androcentric. Being situated on the boundary of more than one margin, though unsettling, can help one cultivate what Toni Morrison has called ‘‘a dancing mind’’7 or give one the courage to break rules as Spivak has done in her interdisciplinary work. A passage in Spivak’s work A Critique of Postcolonial Reason inspires the theme of this colloquium, ‘‘Planetary Loves.’’ Toward the end of the book, Spivak dreams of an animist liberation theology to address the ecological crisis and to mobilize collective political action. She does not think that we can invoke ‘‘the so-called great religions of the world because the history of their greatness is too deeply imbricated in the narrative of the ebb and flow of power.’’8 Instead, she exhorts us to learn from the ‘‘original practical ecological philosophies of the world’’ and concludes that ‘‘[t]his learning can only be attempted through the supplementation of collective effort by love.’’9 This sounds a little out of place in her book, since this is not typical Spivakian language, and deconstruction has not been known for offering practical guidelines for praxis or concrete action. I am going to read Spivak within the contexts of feminist and womanist theologies and theological writings of the Two-Thirds World. My aim is to show that Spivak’s work provides some provocative insights into love in postcolonial feminist theology. This could be news to her, because following Derrida, she and other deconstructivists are very allergic to anything that smacks of ontotheology. But it is from Spivak that we have learned to read a text closely in order to identify the strategies of rewriting, recoding, and reframing to trace or plot another itinerary. The idea of ‘‘planetary loves’’ invites us to join the discussion and participate from many vantage points, because it encourages a capacious imagination that encompasses all the sentient and nonsentient forms of existence. It opens up the margins and the boundaries so that we can encounter or anticipate the unfamiliar and the unexpected. I will elucidate the concept of planetarity, and proceed to discuss planetary love, love ‘‘in other worlds,’’ and love for the female subaltern. PLANETARITY Spivak proposes ‘‘the planet to overwrite the globe.’’10 The globe is on our computers. No one lives there. It allows us to think that we can aim to control it. The planet is in the species of PAGE 32 ................. 17764$ $CH2 10-28-10 12:06:45 PS p l an e t ar i...


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