“The Intern Hours”
Starring: Foucault (F as the mediator), Deleuze (D), Spivak (S), Fanon (FN) and the intern; Glen/You
It was cold, and the most at your hands. Why couldn’t you simply put them in your pockets? You were holding a coffee tray as you made your way down the Columbia University pavements and up to the library. It was rare for Dr. Spivak to have guests andeven more for her to treat them. Anyhow, you walked up the stairs to one of the older study rooms the she always used. Just before you knocked: “Don’t bother knocking, just walk in Glen.” Sometimes you honestly wondered if she could read your mind or if she was aware of all your behaviors…. You pushed through the door and at the table sat Fanon, Foucault and Deleuze. You were in shock, normally this would’ve been an honorable moment but you were caught off guard and probably looked like a deer caught in headlights…. Dr. Spivak stood by the windows stirring her tea as you put the tray on the table. The room seemed tense so you tried to get out of there as soon as possible but just as you were about to turn around, you heard “Glen, I need you to scribe.”
Immediately I wondered what was going on and why they were being so awkward… and wait…why did I buy four coffees?!?
“The fourth one is for you.” she said as she placed the last cup next to my laptop… psychic.
And then they started their discussion.
F: What is the role of the intellectual? How can we describe it?
D: Well, aren’t we intellectuals? We who can gain power through the knowledge we acquire.
FN: Then what? are you saying that the intellectual needs to be represented?
D: No no. The intellectual is no longer representing anything but knowledge. A theorising intellectual, for us, is no longer a subject, a representing or representative consciousness. ( p1)
S: But in your conversation, you create this “othering” if I may…you don’t clarify what this representative consciousness is. For example, when claims like “we’re saving the brown woman from the brown man” surface, what is done? A state of those with power v. those that are helpless is created. Here the white man acts as the savior and the brown man becomes the villain. The brown woman is left unheard and in multiple ways left helpless even with the “help.” Why isn’t their ideology given a thought? You gave an example of prisons being a pure state of power, however how are these imprisoned countries any different?
FN: Its called colonization. It isn’t just the east, my homeland has also suffered the results of western ideologies. Our own culture is somehow not good enough, and we must try to become how the French are, how they speak and even who they marry.
D: Gayatri, you are nitpicking a conversation, and thats fine. But you and Fanon speak of epistemological violence that should create struggle. Shouldn’t the repressed fight against this sort of thing? Isn’t that the point? Granted they shouldn’t have to go through colonization, but even then wouldn’t they struggle and fight for their own ideologies? The intention is not to re-present nor represent them. Make some trouble, cause some chaos, win over repression.
At this point, you couldn’t keep up with their conversations pace. But of course Dr. Spivak being the psychic she is already knows.
S: Alright I think we’ve gotten far enough today.. Glen..drink your coffee, its getting cold and we’ve got to grade papers.