Planetary Subjects after the Death of Geography


in Planetary Loves

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780823233250
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240487 | DOI:

Series: Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

Planetary Subjects after the Death of Geography

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Spivak offers two imaginaries of the earth: globalization—the disembodied everywhere of information networks in which everything is accessible, simultaneous, and subsumed into an imagined same “system of exchange”—and planetarity—which offers infinite possibilities for difference in the refusal to assume the existence of a self-same subject against which an other must be posited. To dislodge the illusion of disembodied universality, we must first examine the matter and difference that sustain such an imaginary. This chapter traces one trajectory of globalization back to the beginning of Western modernity in which Protestant ideals of a spiritualized kingdom exalted universalism, incorporeality, and unity. This imaginary has shifted terms; now we herald the promise of a disembodied network of communication and economic exchange in which democracy governs the unity of a wireless community. Under globalization's promise of the death of geography lies a religiously conceived, geographically bound system on which globalization depends. The chapter unearths a geography of cyberspace that illustrates how the disembodied sphere was built on a material network of undersea cables that follows the routes of early colonial voyages. It argues that the movement Spivak proposes from globalization to planetarity requires more than merely thinking the earth differently. Imaginaries of the earth provide a field of relationships that permits only certain social and economic realities, and these imaginaries are sustained by practices that construct such realities.

Keywords: Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak; globalization; planetarity; postcolonial theology

Chapter.  7736 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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