White Feminist Gaslighting

Hypatia (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Structural gaslighting arises when conceptual work functions to obscure the non-accidental connections between structures of oppression and the patterns of harm they produce and license. This paper examines the role that structural gaslighting plays in white feminist methodology and epistemology using Fricker’s (2007) discussion of hermeneutical injustice as an illustration. Fricker’s work produces structural gaslighting through several methods: i) the outright denial of the role that structural oppression plays in producing interpretive harm, ii) the use of single-axis conceptual resources to understand intersectional oppression, and iii) the failure to recognize the legacy of women of color’s epistemic resistance work surrounding the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. I argue that Fricker’s whitewashed discussion of epistemic resistance to sexual harassment in the United States is a form of structural gaslighting that fails to treat women of color as knowers and exemplifies the strategic forgetting that is a central methodological tactic of white feminism.
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Archival date: 2020-01-26
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White Ignorance.Mills, Charles

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