Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

Spring 2016


All scholars of world literature, especially those trained in the traditions of Western thought, must ultimately grapple with the question of privilege: In opening up a space for all voices to be heard, care must be taken to avoid coopting those voices. Academics must always be aware of our own motivations so that discussions of multi-cultural literature do not appear anthropological, mere examinations of other cultures from a worldview that seems ubiquitous but which comes from a place of unconscious-perhaps- superiority. Critics from Edward Said, in Orientalism, to Gayatri Spivak, in "Can the Subaltern Speak?" to Chinua Achebe in "Image of Africa" have famously warned against such tendencies, as the perspective of Western privilege encourages us to remain external to our projects, never fully committing ourselves to learning from others, so convinced are we that we are teachers.


Originally published in Irish Literary Supplement, Spring 2016.

ISSN: 0733-3390