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On Gaslighting and Epistemic Injustice: Editor's Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 November 2020

Alison Bailey*
Affiliation:
Department of Philosophy, Illinois State University, Normal, IL61790
*
Corresponding author. Email: baileya@ilstu.edu

Extract

Social justice demands that we attend carefully to the epistemic terrains we inhabit as well as to the epistemic resources we summon to make our lived experiences tangible to one another. Not all epistemic terrains are hospitable—colonial projects landscaped a good portion of our epistemic terrain long before present generations moved across it. There is no shared epistemic terra firma, no level epistemic common ground where knowers share credibility and where a diversity of hermeneutical resources play together happily. Knowers engage one another on a politically saturated, unlevel knowing field where members of dominant groups work to forcibly maintain their epistemic home-terrain advantage. I use the metaphor of the unlevel knowing field to capture these oppressive epistemic structures. The unlevel knowing field is a hungry place where all knowledge that fails to nurture and sustain dominant ways knowing risks being dragged onto the dominator's epistemic home turf to be mined, coopted, consumed, or destroyed. Knowledge and willful ignorance circulate with equal vigor in this hungry world. From the standpoint of oppressed/resisting peoples, the unlevel knowing field is a minefield, an epistemic twilight zone, which must be traversed with considerable care and endless attention. The harms epistemic injustice produces are not disembodied harms. Repeated acts of injustice (epistemic or otherwise) weather our bodies, dull our minds, weaken our hearts, and traumatize the spirit of our communities. They create public-health precarities and invite mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual illness into our being. Epistemic oppression is a cruel thief. It is disorienting, exhausting, and deadly. It triggers anger, anxiety, depression, and resistance. It steals our time, energy, and attention away from more beautiful things.

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Articles
Information
Hypatia , Volume 35 , Issue 4 , Fall 2020 , pp. 667 - 673
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Hypatia, a Nonprofit Corporation

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References

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