Tracking Privilege-Preserving Epistemic Pushback in Feminist and Critical Race Philosophy Classes

17 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2021

See all articles by Alison Bailey

Alison Bailey

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Date Written: November 2, 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.

Keywords: Epistemic Injustice, Unlevel Knowing Field, Feminist Pedagogy

Suggested Citation

Bailey, Alison, Tracking Privilege-Preserving Epistemic Pushback in Feminist and Critical Race Philosophy Classes (November 2, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3212011 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3212011

Alison Bailey (Contact Author)

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies ( email )

Normal, IL
United States
309 438 5617 (Phone)
309 438 5104 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.womensandgenderstudies.ilstu.edu

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