Visible Identities critiques the critiques of identity and of identity politics and argues that identities are real but not necessarily a political problem. Moreover, the book explores the material infrastructure of gendered identity, the experimental aspects of racial subjectivity for both whites and non-whites, and in several chapters looks specifically at Latio identity.
This was published in Cultural Critique (Winter 1991-92), pp. 5-32; revised and reprinted in Who Can Speak? Authority and Critical Identity edited by Judith Roof and Robyn Wiegman, University of Illinois Press, 1996; and in Feminist Nightmares: Women at Odds edited by Susan Weisser and Jennifer Fleischner, (New York: New York University Press, 1994); and also in Racism and Sexism: Differences and Connections eds. David Blumenfeld and Linda Bell, Rowman and Littlefield, 1995.
This paper explores the significant strengths of Fricker's account, and then develops the following questions. Can volitional epistemic practice correct for non-volitional prejudices? How can we address the structural causes of credibility-deflation? Are the motivations behind identity prejudice mostly other-directed or self-directed? And does Fricker aim for neutrality vis-à-vis identity, in which case her account conflicts with standpoint theory?
Drawing from the lives of Ossie Davis, Frantz Fanon, Malcolm X, and W. E. B. Du Bois, as well as his own experience, and fully updated to account for what has transpired since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, Yancy provides an invaluable resource for students and teachers of courses in African American Studies, African American History, Philosophy of Race, and anyone else who wishes to examine what it means to be Black in America.
This volume is an act of talking back, of talking heresy. To reclaim the term “realism,” to maintain the epistemic significance of identity, to defend any version of identity politics today is to swim upstream of strong academic currents in feminist theory, literary theory, and cultural studies. It is to risk, even to invite, a dismissal as naive, uninformed, theoretically unsophisticated. And it is a risk taken here by people already at risk in the academy, already assumed more often than (...) not to be uninformed and undereducated precisely because of their real identities. Of course, identity is today a growth industry in the academy, across the humanities and social sciences, influencing even law and communication studies. The constitutive power of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and other forms of identity has, finally, suddenly, been recognized as a relevant aspect of almost all projects of inquiry. However, as I shall discuss in this essay, simultaneous to this academic commodification of identity is an increasing tendency to view identity as politically and metaphysically problematic, some have even said pathological. So on the one hand the theoretical relevance of identities has become visible, while on the other hand many theorists are troubled by the implications of the claim that identity makes a difference. Increasingly, then, the attachment to identity has become suspect. If identity has become suspect, identity politics has been prosecuted, tried, and sentenced to death. To espouse identity politics in the academy today risks being viewed as a member of the Flat-Earth Society. Like “essentialism,” identity politics has become the shibboleth of cultural studies and social theory, and denouncing it has become the litmus test of academic respectability, political acceptability, and even a necessity for the very right to be heard. In contrast, there has been a noticeable thaw regarding the term essentialism. What was once perfunctorily denounced at the start of every paper in feminist theory has recently been tentatively examined by a few theorists for possible signs of validity.. (shrink)
In this paper I explore white attempts to move toward a proactive position against racism that will amount to more than self-criticism in the following three ways: by assessing the debate within feminism over white women's relation to whiteness; by exploring "white awareness training" methods developed by Judith Katz and the "race traitor" politics developed by Ignatiev and Garvey, and; a case study of white revisionism being currently attempted at the University of Mississippi.
The politics of ethnic names, such as ‘Latino’ and ‘Hispanic’, raises legitimate issues for three reasons: because non-political considerations of descriptive adequacy are insufficient to determine absolutely the question of names; political considerations may be germane to an ethnic name’s descriptive adequacy; and naming opens up the political question of a chosen furture, to which we are accountable. The history of colonial and neo-colonial conditions structuring the relations of the North, Central and South Americas is both critical in understanding the (...) political condition of Latinos in the USA and relevant in current colonial relations. Key Words: ascriptive class segment • colonialism • ethnic names • Hispanic • Latino • neo-colonialism • political contestation. (shrink)
This is a unique, groundbreaking collection of autobiographical essays by leading women in philosophy. It provides a glimpse at the experiences of the generation that witnessed, and helped create, the remarkable advances now evident for women in the field.
: Much of Ofelia Schutte's work has been focused on the question of liberation, especially for women and for colonized peoples. In this paper I discuss some of the important contributions she has made toward understanding the difficulty of dialogue across differences of culture and power, and toward thinking through the relationships of culture, identity, and social justice. Although I generally agree with Schutte's positions, I try here to initiate a dialogue about some conflicting tendencies I see in her positions. (...) Specifically, I challenge her reliance on Nietzsche in developing a general approach to the question of liberation. (shrink)
Based on the ongoing work of the agenda-setting Future of Minority Studies national research project, Identity Politics Reconsidered reconceptualizes the scholarly and political significance of social identity. It focuses on the deployment of “identity” within ethnic-, women’s-, disability-, and gay and lesbian studies in order to stimulate discussion about issues that are simultaneously theoretical and practical, ranging from ethics and epistemology to political theory and pedagogical practice. This collection of powerful essays by both well-known and emerging scholars offers original answers (...) to questions concerning the analytical legitimacy of “identity” and “experience,” and the relationships among cultural autonomy, moral universalism, and progressive politics. (shrink)
In this paper I make a preliminary analysis of Western discourses on sexual violence, focusing on the important concepts of “consent” and “victim.” The concept of “consent” is widely used to determine whether sexual violence has occurred, and it is the focal point of debates over the legitimacy of statutory offenses and over the way we characterize sex work done under conditions involving economic desperation. The concept of “victim” is shunned by many feminists and nonfeminists alike for its apparent eclipse (...) of agency. Putting these concepts into a global framework sheds light on their limitations. Bringing in the debate over the concept “honor crime” reveals contrasting assumptions about the nature of sexual violence. The comparative analysis used in this paper shows how we can avoid universalizing from specific frameworks, but also how we can learn from the discourses elsewhere toward developing an account of commonalities across contexts. Ultimately I argue that in applications to sexual violence, “consent” has intrinsic limitations, “victim” has context-based dangers, and “honor crime” makes both correct as well as incorrect assumptions. (shrink)
This paper aims to contribute toward coalitionbuilding by showing that, even if we try tobuild coalition around what might look like ourmost obvious common concern – reducing racism –the dominant discourse of racial politics inthe United States inhibits an understanding ofhow racism operates vis-à-vis Latino/as andAsian Americans, and thus proves more of anobstacle to coalition building than an aid. Theblack/white paradigm, which operates to governracial classifications and racial politics inthe U.S., takes race in the U.S. to consist ofonly two racial (...) groups, Black and White,with others understood in relation to one ofthese categories.I summarize and discuss the strongestcriticisms of the paradigm and then develop twofurther arguments. Together these argumentsshow that continuing to theorize race in theU.S. as operating exclusively through theblack/white paradigm is actuallydisadvantageous for all people of color in theU.S., and in many respects for whites as well(or at least for white union households and thewhite poor). (shrink)
On what basis should we make an epistemic assessment of another’s authority to impart knowledge? Is social identity a legitimate feature to take into account when assessing epistemic reliability? This paper argues that, in some cases, social identity is a relevant feature to take into account in assessing a person’s credibility.
In this response to the comments on my book, Rape and Resistance: Understanding the Complexities of Sexual Violation, I offer a futher elaboration of the crucial concept of sexual subjectivity put forward as a way to approach the normative evaluation of sexual practices. This concept makes possible a healthy pluralism without retreating to a facile libertarian view that would render consent sufficient to determine morally unproblematic sex. The concept of sexual subjectivity sanctions experimentation in our sexual lives and the question (...) arises as to whether this opens the door to anything. Yet the concept of experimentation also presupposes that some experiments fail and that all require assessment. I argue that assessment is best done in intra-group discussions where people share broad experiences and aims, but it is also possible to communicate concerns and ideas across groups. I then discuss my use of Foucault to elaborate the specific challenges that are encountered when one tries to speak about rape and sexual violations, and also the ways we can use his work to develop more effectively resistant speaking practices. (shrink)
Apparently, Latinos are “taking over.” 1 With news that Latinos have become the largest minority group in the United States, the public airwaves are filled with concerned voices about the impact that a non-English dominant, Catholic, non-white, largely poor population will have on “American” identity. Aside from the hysteria, Latino identity poses some authentically new questions for the standard way in which minority identities are conceptualized. Are Latinos a race, an ethnicity, or some combination? What does it mean to have (...) hybridity as the foundation of an identity, as is the case for mestizos and most Latinos? The term “Latino” signifies people from an entire continent, sub-continent, and several large islands, with diverse racial, national, ethnic, religious, and linguistic aspects to their identity. Given all this internal diversity, is “Latino” a meaningful identity at all? Latino identity is, with few exceptions, a visible identity, for all its variability, and I will argue that unless we pay close attention to the way in which Latino identity operates as a visible identity in public, social spaces, our analyses of its social meanings and political effects will be compromised. In the following three chapters, I will address three issues that Latino identity raises, issues that have political ramifications but that also require us to think about the philosophical assumptions at work behind common ideas about race and ethnicity. First, what is the relationship between Latino identity and racial categories? Second, how do Latinos fit into, and challenge, the black/white binary thinking about race that has long dominated public discourse in the U.S.? And third, what does it mean to have a mixed identity, for Latinos or for other mixed race groups? Throughout, we will have to pay close attention to the especially significant heterogeneity of this particular population. Does such diversity threaten identity or does it reveal that identity has never presumed uniformity? Only recently has the concept of pan-Latino, or generic Hispanic, identity overtaken the older identity monikers of “Cuban,” “Mexican,” “Puerto Rican,” etc. in significant national discourses across the United States.. (shrink)
“It is certainly true, as nominalists have been concerned to acknowledge, that judgements about kinds are determined in part by human interests, projects, and practices. But the possibility that human interests, projects, and practices sometimes develop as they do because the real (physical or social) world is as it is suggests that this sort of dependence is not by itself an argument against essentialism.”.
In his epistles, St. Paul sounded a universalism that has recently been taken up by secular philosophers who do not share his belief in Christ, but who regard his project as centrally important for contemporary political life. The Pauline project—as they see it—is the universality of truth, the conviction that what is true is true for everyone, and that the truth should be known by everyone. In this volume, eminent New Testament scholars, historians, and philosophers debate whether Paul's promise can (...) be fulfilled. Is the proper work of reading Paul to reconstruct what he said to his audiences? Is it crucial to retrieve the sense of history from the text? What are the philosophical undercurrents of Paul's message? This scholarly dialogue ushers in a new generation of Pauline studies. (shrink)
The idea that Adorno should be read as a “realist” of any sort may indeed sound odd. And unpacking from Adorno’s elusive prose a credible and useful normative reconstruction of epistemology and metaphysics will take some work. But we argue that he should be added to the growing group of epistemologists and metaphysicians who have been developing post-positivist versions of realism such as contextual, internal, pragmatic and critical realisms. These latter realisms, however, while helpfully showing how realism can coexist with (...) ontological pluralism, for example, as well as a highly contextualised account of knowledge, have not developed a political reflexivity about how the object of knowledge—the real—is constructed. As a field, then, post-positivist realisms have been politically naïve, which is perhaps why they have not enjoyed more influence among Continental philosophers. (shrink)
In this paper I set out the problem of feminist social science as the need to explain and justify its method of theory choice in relation to both its own theories and those of androcentric social science. In doing this, it needs to avoid both a positivism which denies the impact of values on scientific theory-choice and a radical relativism which undercuts the emancipatory potential of feminist research. From the relevant literature I offer two possible solutions: the Holistic and the (...) Constructivist models of theory-choice. I then rate these models according to what extent they solve the problem of feminist social science. I argue that the principal distinction between these models is in their contrasting conceptions of truth. Solving the problem of feminist social science will require understanding that what is at stake in the debate is our conception of truth. This understanding will serve to clarify, though not resolve, the various approaches to and disagreements over methodologies and explanations in feminist social science. (shrink)