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.
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 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?
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.
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)
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.
The Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy is a definitive introduction to the field, consisting of 15 newly-contributed essays that apply philosophical methods and approaches to feminist concerns. Offers a key view of the project of centering women’s experience. Includes topics such as feminism and pragmatism, lesbian philosophy, feminist epistemology, and women in the history of philosophy.
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)
In her article, Alcoff argues for the need to examine the reality of race philosophically. According to Alcoff, liberal notions of universality as well as the postmodern critique of essentialism make it difficult to address race and its ongoing significance in social life. By engaging with authors like Charles W. Mills and Paul Gilroy, Alcoff aims to show that it is possible to develop an account of race as social and historical reality without essentializing the category of race.
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 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)
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)
This article analyzes Nancy Fraser's account of the contrasting social movements for recognition versus those for redistribution. In her most recent analysis, only those forms of recognition struggles that she equates with identity politics are subject to critique. I argue that identity politics does not have an inevitable logic to it that destines it to fracture, border patrol, internal conservatism, etc., and further that the very redistribution claims she proposes require identity politics.
“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.”.
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. (shrink)
Justice Sonia Sotomayor was vilified for arguing that one's social identity can contribute positively to judgment or public reason. This paper considers and expands on Sotomayor's arguments, showing that identity is relevant to snap judgments and to sensation transference that affects how speakers are assessed. It further develops a hermeneutic account of identity that can make sense of its epistemic relevance without foreclosing individual variation.
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)
Michel Foucault’s formative years included the study not only of history and philosophy but also of psychology: two years after he took license in philosophy at the Sorbonne in 1948, he took another in psychology, and then obtained, in 1952, a Diplôme de Psycho Pathologie . From his earliest years at the Ecole Normale Superieur he had taken courses on general and social psychology with one of most influential psychologists of the time, Daniel Lagache, who was attempting to integrate psychoanalysis (...) with clinical methods.(Eribon 1991, 42) Foucault’s studies included experimentation and clinical instruction in which patients were presented in an amphitheatre just as in the days of Charcot. For several years after he had received his Diplôme, Foucault continued research in psychopathology, observing practices in mental hospitals, reportedly sometimes volunteering in experiments himself. He purchased the material required to administer Roschach tests, subjecting numerous friends to the inkblots, and became, when it was founded, the honorary president of the French Rorschach organization. Foucault’s first books were on the topic of the psychological characterization of madness and the development of clinical medicine, and his last books addressed the development of psychological norms within the establishment of modern prisons as well as within an increasingly scientific approach to sex. Thus, he worked at the intersections of philosophy and psychology throughout his life. Nonetheless, Foucault reported feeling an intense aversion to psychology no less than to philosophy.(Sheridan 1980, 5) Foucault’s oeuvre is almost exclusively focused on particular knowledges in the human sciences, especially those aspects which pertained to psychological theories of human behavior, capacity, and normative functioning. His historical approach to these, and his emphasis on the role of discourse, is readily reminiscent of Thomas Kuhn’s similarly historical approach to scientific method with its emphasis on the role of paradigms and the untranslatability of paradigm dependent objects.. (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)
This anthology provides the definitive theoretical sources of contemporary thinking about identity, including explorations of race, class, gender, and nationality. Explores the long and rich tradition of philosophical analysis and debate over the genesis, contours, and political effects of identity categories. Provides the definitive theoretical sources and contemporary debates by leading theorists such as selections from Hegel, Marx, Freud, DuBois, Beauvoir, Lukács, Fanon, Hall, Guha, Hobsbawm, Wittig, Butler, Halperin, R. Robertson, Said, and LaClau. Combines general and specific analyses of particular (...) identity categories: race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality, class, nationality. Allows for a comparative study of identities through multiple theoretical frameworks. (shrink)
Caring to Know by Vrinda Dalmiya is a remarkable, and remarkably original, work. It develops a significant extension of the care-ethical framework for epistemology, builds on as well as critiques Western feminist philosophy, and offers an original interpretation of the Mahābhārata's implication for epistemic norms. But perhaps most importantly, it invents an entirely original epistemology unlike anything, really, in English. The revolutionary dimensions of the book are clear from the beginning: this is a work of decolonial epistemology.For the period of (...) our shared presence in the profession of philosophy, moral theory and epistemology have begun a cautious conversation. There is now moral epistemology, a field of... (shrink)