Contemporary Political Theory 21 (2):283-314 (2022)

Nora Berenstain
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Kristie Dotson
Michigan State University
Elena Ruíz
Michigan State University
Epistemologies have power. They have the power not only to transform worlds, but to create them. And the worlds that they create can be better or worse. For many people, the worlds they create are predictably and reliably deadly. Epistemologies can turn sacred land into ‘resources’ to be bought, sold, exploited, and exhausted. They can turn people into ‘labor’ in much the same way. They can not only disappear acts of violence but render them unnamable and unrecognizable within their conceptual architectures. Settler systems of epistemic and conceptual resources and the relations among them are constructed to preclude certain forms of knowledge. This is not an accident; it is a central goal of colonial violence. Colonization and land dispossession would not be possible without the violent disruption of Indigenous knowledge systems and ongoing organized attempts to disrupt their survival. Violently disrupting the relationships of people to land is as much an epistemic project as it is a material one, and these two projects are inherently linked. The task of theorizing epistemic oppression is not only about epistemic oppression. Epistemic oppression is a story that gives language to a phenomenon in order to get past it, to carry on with the maintaining and reviving the forms of Indigenous and diasporic knowledge that colonialism has worked tirelessly to corrupt and silence.
Keywords settler colonialism  neoliberalism  language reclamation  Hawaiian epistemology  land-based knowledge  Communitarian Feminism  epistemicide  hermeneutic violence
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Reprint years 2022
DOI 10.1057/s41296-021-00483-z
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References found in this work BETA

Conceptualizing Epistemic Oppression.Kristie Dotson - 2014 - Social Epistemology 28 (2):115-138.
Can the Subaltern Speak?Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak - 1988 - Die Philosophin 14 (27):42-58.
White Feminist Gaslighting.Nora Berenstain - 2020 - Hypatia 35 (4):733-758.
Cultural Gaslighting.Elena Ruíz - 2020 - Hypatia 35 (4):687-713.

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Citations of this work BETA

Epistemic injustice in Climate Adaptation.Morten Fibieger Byskov & Keith Hyams - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-22.

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