The term subaltern has traveled widely, mutating as it has animated political projects and academic interventions across several continents. Originally a late-medieval term for peasants and vassals and later for low-ranked military troops of peasant background, it was adapted by Marxist philosopher and politician Antonio Gramsci (1978) to refer to subordinated groups and classes in his analysis of the “Southern Question” in Italy. His overarching concern was to produce “a methodology of subaltern historiography, a history of the subaltern classes, and a political strategy of transformation based upon the historical development and existence of the subaltern” (M. Green 2002, 3). Gramsci’s analysis of subalternity in relation to domination and uneven development had a major impact on thinkers grappling with colonialism and its legacies in the Global South.

This essay may be found on page 229 of the printed volume.

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