The Conditions of Subalternity: Reflections on Subjectivity, Experience and Hegemony


  • Peyman Vahabzadeh University of Victoria



This paper uses Gayatri Spivak's discussion of Sati and Ranajit Guha's interpretive account of Chandra's death in colonial India in order to critically re-examine the concept of subalternity that runs through various postcolonial theories.  It is argued that there is a major tendency in postcolonial theory to conflate hegemony with domination.  By introducing the concept of experience, enabled by a reading of Antonio Gramsci's theory, the paper relates subalternity to hegemony and discusses that the success or failure of hegemony involves the degree to which hegemonic re-grounding can succeed in maintaining the existential continuum of the subject. 

Author Biography

Peyman Vahabzadeh, University of Victoria

Peyman Vahabzadeh is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Victoria.  He is the author of Articulated Experiences: Toward A Radical Phenomenology of Contemporary Social Movements (SUNY Press, 2003), the guest editor of a special issue of West Coast Line on ";Writing Rupture: Iranian Emigration Literature"; (Spring 2003) and the co-guest editor (with Jeffery Robbins) of a special issue of the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory on ";Religion, Democracy, and the Politics of Fright"; (Summer 2007).  He has also published three books of poetry and fiction in Persian and published over 30 essays and short stories in English, Persian, and German.