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Abudu, Kenneth U. , Imafidon, Elvis, . Epistemic Injustice, Disability, and Queerness in African Cultures
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 393-409
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Abstract: Perception, representations, and knowledge claims about disability and queerness vary across societies and cultures. In African cultures negative knowledge claims and representations of disability and queerness create a perception of the disabled and queer that are not only detrimental to such persons in African societies but arguably undermine the work of understanding difference and tolerance in general. These negative claims raise some epistemological questions, such as: how do Africans come to know about disability and how are such knowledge claims validated within African communities? Against this backdrop, this chapter critically examines the epistemology of disability and queerness in African traditions. It shows that the epistemic authoritarianism found in African epistemology leads to an epistemic injustice that contributes immensely to the discrimination against disabled and queer beings as reflected in many cultural practices across the continent of Africa. The chapter argues that knowledge claims about disability and queerness in Africa emerge mainly from neglect, superstition, myth, and, above all, ignorance.

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Dembroff, Robin, , Wodak, Daniel. He/She/They/Ze
2018, Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy, 5(14): 371 – 406.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Rory Wilson

Abstract: In this paper, we defend two main claims. The first is a moderate claim: we have a negative duty to not use binary gender-specific pronouns he or she to refer to genderqueer individuals. We defend this with an argument by analogy. It was gravely wrong for Mark Latham to refer to Catherine McGregor, a transgender woman, using the pronoun he; we argue that such cases of misgendering are morally analogous to referring to Angel Haze, who identifies as genderqueer, as he or she. The second is a radical claim: we have a negative duty to not use any gender-specific pronouns to refer to anyone, regardless of their gender identity. We offer three arguments in favor of this claim (which appeal to concerns about inegalitarianism and risk, invasions of privacy, and reinforcing essentialist ideologies). We also show why the radical claim is compatible with the moderate claim. Before concluding, we examine common concerns about incorporating either they or a neologism such as ze as a third-person singular gender-neutral pronoun. These concerns, we argue, do not provide sufficient reason to reject either the moderate or radical claim.

Comment: This text can be used as a companion piece to other texts on the metaphysics of gender or to introduce students to transgender / nonbinary identities. Dembroff and Wodak give a good overview of the importance of pronouns as well as the contemporary pronoun debate between they and ze for those with little to no prior background. This paper is good for debate over its radical claim.

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Hovey, Jaime, , . Picturing Yourself: Portraits, Self-Consciousness, and Modernist Style
2006, in: A Thousand Words. Portraiture, Style, and Queer Modernism, Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
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Added by: Hans Maes, Contributed by:

Summary: Focuses on the modernist literary portrait in general and on Wilde’s novel in particular. Also contains multiple references to painted portraits. Argues that queer modernist portraits concentrate on dynamic aspects of style and personality, presenting both the sitter’s style and personality and the personality of the artist who renders her. Explores how style becomes another vehicle where a dangerous homosociality can be reduced into a manifestation of the merely particular (and vice versa).

Comment: Useful in discussing portraiture, as well as depiction and representation in general.

Artworks to use with this text:

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

Cleverly framed as a story about a portrait within a portrait, and written by Wilde in part to demonstrate to his artistic nemesis James McNeil Whistler the superiority of writing to painting, Dorian serves to illustrate the central thesis of Hovey’s study. Interweaves reflections on Wilde’s personal style, his style as an author, the style of the painter and of the painting, the style of the characters in the book, and queer modernist style in general.

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Muñoz, José Esteban, , . Performing Disidentifications
1999, In: Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. 1-34.
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Added by: Rossen Ventzislavov, Contributed by:

Summary: The concept of disidentification is Muñoz’ way of capturing the subversion of the token identities assigned by dominant cultural discourse. While this subversion is a common everyday practice for most members of minoritized groups, Muñoz contends that it is in art where it could achieve the political weight that leads to social change. One of the examples Muñoz uses is of gay Latino artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres whose work resists the dominant “representational economy” – it is not explicitly inflected towards and/or recognizable within the traditional symbolic parameters of sexual or ethnic marginalization. In fact, Muñoz sees Gonzalez-Torres’ art as exemplary of “tactical misrecognition,” i.e. the intentional obfuscation of pre-constituted identification. Performance art is the most natural medium for such misrecognition.

Comment: Best used in classes on sexual or ethnic marginalisation, and the social and political function of art, as well as on the social and political context of art.

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