Notes from a Structural Epistemologist

Hypatia 38 (4):839 - 848 (2023)
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Abstract

In answering my undergraduate students’ questions about what I do, I keep coming back to the term structural epistemology. If some students push me further to not hide behind terms, I tell them: I study structures (social, political, and cultural institutions and arrangements)—not all of them at the same time, obviously—and what they do to our knowledge practices (what we know and how we know). And I give some examples: how refugee regimes know “persecution,” I tell them, matters, particularly for asylum seekers. I also tell them that mine is a kind of structural epistemology guided by structural concerns in women of color feminist theories. This essay is a long way of answering the question: What do I do when I do structural epistemology? I consider this question to be an important one not only as part of an effort to rethink what I take myself to be doing in professional philosophy but also as an effort to characterize commitments and strategies I am influenced by and work with as a structural epistemologist.

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Ezgi Sertler
Utah Valley University

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