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Contested Narratives, Fragmented Spaces, and Subalternity: Performing Academia from the Third

Mohan Jyoti Dutta
Qualitative Communication Research
Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring 2013), pp. 1-41
DOI: 10.1525/qcr.2013.2.1.1
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/qcr.2013.2.1.1
Page Count: 41
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Contested Narratives, Fragmented Spaces, and Subalternity
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Abstract

As a Third World subject in U.S. academe, I became aware of my Third Worldliness in the very first semester of graduate coursework and was socialized into the position of being a silent observer of stories circulated about the Third World by first world people. As I looked for opportunities for questioning the dominant logic in communication scholarship that operated on the first-Third dichotomy, the traditional practices of literature reviews and graduate coursework into which I was socialized taught me that the discipline of communication is historically situated within the rubric of US-based systems of knowledge production, maintaining its West-centric hegemony through articulations of discursive configurations that construct and limit the possibilities for engaging with subaltern voices from the global South. Drawing from postcolonial and subaltern studies theories, I seek to perform scholarship in subalternity in this essay by engaging with the erasures, silences, and omissions propagated through the epistemological and ontological tools of US-based communication knowledge production systems.

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