Abstract: Too often, identifying practices of silencing is a seemingly impossible exercise. Here I claim that attempting to give a conceptual reading of the epistemic violence present when silencing occurs can help distinguish the different ways members of oppressed groups are silenced with respect to testimony. I offer an account of epistemic violence as the failure, owing to pernicious ignorance, of hearers to meet the vulnerabilities of speakers in linguistic exchanges. Ultimately, I illustrate that by focusing on the ways in which hearers fail to meet speaker dependency in a linguistic exchange, efforts can be made to demarcate the different types of silencing people face when attempting to testify from oppressed positions in society.
Comment: This text provides an alternative framework to epistemic injustice and focuses on the positionality of black women. It encourages thought about (certain kinds of) ignorance as specific harms to others. This would suit an undergraduate class who were looking at race, gender, and/or applied epistemologies.