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In the article, Spivak discusses the way in which the subaltern (the oppressed group, the group that’s usually separated from the socially accepted group) has no power over knowledge – or as discussed in class, the Knowledge with a capital K. The way in which the dominant group in society eliminates the subaltern’s knowledge and authority is through epistemic violence, which doesn’t mean physical violence – more along the lines of a forcing of ideas, a mental attack. The dominant group uses epistemic knowledge and says that other forms of knowledge that deviate from their own are insufficient and inadequate. Other ideas – besides their own – should not be accepted as the norm, which is essentially what hegemony is.

So obviously I think that Spivak’s title which is in the form of a question, is a rhetoric one. The subaltern can’t speak. The dominant group speaks for them.