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A classic postcolonial studies text, Spivak's 1988 essay argues that a core problem for the poorest and most marginalized in society (the subalterns) is that they have no platform to express their concerns and no voice to affect policy debates or demand a fairer share of society's goods. The women among them, says Spivak, are doubly oppressed. Jacques Derrida's Of Grammatology, which Spivak translated, feminism and Marxism all strongly influenced "Can the Subaltern Speak?" The essay has been widely praised for the insights it brings to postcolonial studies, but it has also been criticized as dense and difficult to understand.