CFP: Hypatia Special Issue - Intersectional Epistemologies: The Ethics and Politics of Epistemic Practice

Submission deadline: May 1, 2022

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Intersectional Epistemologies: The Ethics and Politics of Epistemic Practice

Guest Editors: Gaile Pohlhaus, Jr. and Jeanine Weekes Schroer

Recent work in feminist and critical epistemologies has expanded considerably.  While feminists continue to struggle to make our work more self-reflexive, new resources have been developed that call feminist attention to the importance of self-reflexivity and intersectionality in our epistemic practices.  For example, the concepts of epistemic oppression, epistemic exploitation, and epistemic resistance, while drawing on earlier theorizations like Gayatri Spivak’s “epistemic violence,” are revitalizing important questions and conversations among feminists.  At the same time, recently there has been more attention outside of feminist circles to the ethical and political aspects of knowing (particularly in relation to the concept of epistemic injustice, but also in relation to epistemic virtue and vice).

This special issue seeks to analyze and further feminist epistemological work in ways that are explicitly informed by intersectional analyses. The term “intersectionality” itself is an outgrowth of Black feminist epistemology and political-epistemic practice.  Kimberlé Crenshaw’s intervention in coining this term was precisely a way of epistemically resisting the ignoring or “unknowing” of Black women and Black women’s oppression made possible by single axis approaches embedded within the U.S. judicial system and taken by particular social justice movements.  Moreover, naming intersectionality was a way of identifying an approach to the world with a long history of use by Black feminist knowers.  Consequently, this identification both resisted the unknowing of Black women’s oppression and acknowledged Black women as epistemic subjects. Within this context, single axis approaches can be understood as a tool of epistemic oppression.  And yet despite this history, a good deal of feminist epistemology continues to take a single axis approach.  What do epistemologies look like when they are informed by the ways multiple axes of dominance and oppression press upon and differentially enable knowers?

An intersectional feminist approach, we contend, would (among other things) examine a broad range of epistemic practices and not limit itself to knowing and knowledge production.  This is already evident in the work on “epistemologies of ignorance.”  However, recent work has also expanded to include additional epistemic practices that are crucial to feminist liberatory projects.  While analyses of knowing and unknowing are still important, so too are analyses of such things as epistemic agency, epistemic institutions (and their upkeep), recognizing relevance (and irrelevance), understanding, acknowledging, paying attention, and “paying no mind to.”  How might feminist work that is truly intersectional broaden our understanding of these and other epistemic activities?  What is the relationship between these broader concerns and traditional epistemological focus on knowledge, truth, and justification?

Possible topics for this special issue might include:

  • The mechanics of standpoint, epistemic oppression, and/or epistemic resistance when knowers are situated within multiple oppressed communities, or when knowers are simultaneously oppressor and oppressed
  • Epistemic communities and epistemic companions
  • Epistemic resources and epistemic contexts, what happens when epistemic resources travel across contexts and are used by different epistemic communities? What makes an epistemic tool helpful in some contexts but harmful in others?
  • Competing epistemic values (e.g. truth, aptness, relevance, but also justice, attentiveness, and repair/reparation)
  • Maintaining and nurturing the liberatory potential of epistemic resources
  • Self-reflexive epistemologies
  • Queer and crip epistemologies
  • Decolonial epistemologies
  • Carceral and de-carceral epistemologies
  • Epistemic activism and resistance
  • Epistemic strategies and languages emerging from social movements (e.g. the Karen meme, mansplaining, no platforming etc.)
  • Erotic knowledge, embodied understanding
  • Feminist epistemologies’ engagement with social epistemologies (and vice versa)
  • Incommensurate epistemic spaces and/or communities
  • Aspirational vs. Practical epistemologies
  • Epistemic agency and epistemic autonomy
  • The centrality of epistemology to ethics and political philosophy (and vice versa)
  • Epistemic injustice vs. epistemic oppression
  • Epistemic institutions and the structure of epistemic space
  • Epistemic trust and epistemic coalition within historical contexts of systemic injustice
  • Epistemic exploitation, epistemic appropriation, and/or epistemic imperialism

Submission deadline: May 1, 2022

Manuscripts intended for review as articles should be 7,000 to 10,000 words, excluding notes and bibliography, prepared for anonymous review, and accompanied by an abstract of no more than 200 words. In addition to articles, we invite submissions for our Musings section. These should not exceed 4,000 words, excluding notes and bibliography. All submissions will be subject to external review. For more details please see Hypatia’s submission guidelines.

Please submit your manuscript to: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/hypa. When you submit, make sure to select “Intersectional Epistemologies” as your manuscript type, and also send an email to the guest editors indicating the title of the paper you have submitted: Gaile Pohlhaus, Jr. ([email protected]), Jeanine Weekes Schroer ([email protected]), and [email protected]

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