Translated by Gayatri Spivak
Routledge – 1995 – 248 pages
Imaginary Maps presents three stories from noted Bengali writer Mahasweta Devi in conjunction with readings of these tales by famed cultural and literary critic, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Weaving history, myth and current political realities, these stories explore troubling motifs in contemporary Indian life through the figures and narratives of indigenous tribes in India. At once delicate and violent, Devi's stories map the experiences of the "tribals" and tribal life under decolonization. In "The Hunt," "Douloti the Bountiful" and the deftly wrought allegory of tribal agony "Pterodactyl, Pirtha, and Puran Sahay," Ms. Devi links the specific fate of tribals in India to that of marginalized peoples everywhere.
Gayatri Spivak's readings of these stories connect the necessary "power lines" within them, not only between local and international structures of power (patriarchy, nationalisms, late capitalism), but also to the university.
". . . when the world is broadly divided simply into North and South, the World Bank has no barrier to its division of that world into a map that is as fantastic as it is real. This constantly changing map draws economic rather than national boundaries, as fluid as the spectacular dynamics of international capital." -- Gayatri Spivak, from Imaginary Maps