The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations (Studies in Feminist Philosophy)

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9780199929023: The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations (Studies in Feminist Philosophy)

This book explores the epistemic side of oppression, focusing on racial and sexual oppression and their interconnections. It elucidates how social insensitivities and imposed silences prevent members of different groups from interacting epistemically in fruitful ways--from listening to each other, learning from each other, and mutually enriching each other's perspectives. Medina's epistemology of resistance offers a contextualist theory of our complicity with epistemic injustices and a social connection model of shared responsibility for improving epistemic conditions of participation in social practices. Through the articulation of a new interactionism and polyphonic contextualism, the book develops a sustained argument about the role of the imagination in mediating social perceptions and interactions. It concludes that only through the cultivation of practices of resistance can we develop a social imagination that can help us become sensitive to the suffering of excluded and stigmatized subjects. Drawing on Feminist Standpoint Theory and Critical Race Theory, this book makes contributions to social epistemology and to recent discussions of testimonial and hermeneutical injustice, epistemic responsibility, counter-performativity, and solidarity in the fight against racism and sexism.

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About the Author:

José Medina is Walter Dill Scott Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University. He works primarily in Gender & Race Theory, Philosophy of Language, and Social Epistemology. His writings on language and identity have focused on gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. Medina's books include Speaking from Elsewhere (SUNY Press, 2006) and Language (Continuum, 2005).


"José Medina has written an original book which masterfully combines continental
and American traditions and which addresses important topics in contemporary social
and political philosophy, showing why we should pay more attention to the epistemic
dimension of our everyday interactions."--Roberto Frega, European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy

"This book breaks new ground in linking epistemology with social and political concerns, still a relatively new area of interface in philosophy. Most of the serious epistemology that has done this linking to date is in feminist epistemology, which Medina draws on as a resource. He then goes on to develop a highly general, inclusive, and broad account that addresses oppression in its most general terms. Going beyond critique he develops a positive reconstruction that usefully addresses both the social and the individual changes that need to be made in knowing practices, and provides a new and very helpful vocabulary for describing and understanding the patterns of epistemic injustice. This is one of the most important works of epistemology and radical social theory in a long time."--Linda Alcoff, Professor of Philosophy, Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center

"The social epistemology developed in recent decades represents a welcome advance on the dead-end of Cartesian individualism. But the social has too often been conceived of without centering social oppression, and all the noetic complexities that come with it. In this richly detailed and wide-ranging text, José Medina locates the epistemological project squarely where it belongs: in societies of privilege, subordination, and radical group differentiation. Drawing on feminism, critical race theory, and queer theory, he shows with unprecedented thoroughness that we need to develop the cognitive virtues necessary to overcome active ignorance, epistemic injustice, and structural group insensitivity--in sum, the problems not of a conveniently sanitized epistemic 'Twin-Earth' but the disordered world in which we all actually live."--Charles Mills, John Evans Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy. Department of Philosophy, Northwestern University

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