Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Abstract

Classrooms are unlevel knowing fields, contested terrains where knowledge and ignorance are produced and circulate with equal vigor, and where members of dominant groups are accustomed to having an epistemic home-terrain advantage. My project focuses on one form of resistance that regularly surfaces in discussions with social-justice content. Privilege-preserving epistemic pushback is a variety of willful ignorance that many members of dominant groups engage in when asked to consider both the lived and structural injustices that members of marginalized groups experience daily. I argue that this dominant form of resistance is neither an expression of skepticism nor a critical-thinking practice. I suggest that standard philosophical engagements with these expressions of resistance are incapable of tracking the harms of privilege-preserving epistemic pushback. I recommend treating this pushback as a “shadow text,” that is, as a text that runs alongside the readings in ways that offer no epistemic friction. I offer this as one critical philosophical practice for making students mindful of the ways they contribute to the circulation of ignorance and epistemic violence during the course of their discussions.

Comments

This article was originally published in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 32, no. 4 (Fall 2017): 876-892. doi:10.1111/hypa.12354

Available for download on Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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