8 Pages

Women and Gender Studies
Course Code
Nick Mount

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Making Knowledge as if the World Matters  ­ WGS360 Jan 2014  Dr. Astrida Neimanis  Knowledge, a social construct (not self­evident) (apparatus)  Contingent on a common place/time  Knowledge changes/debatable  Who provides knowledge?  Epistemology = The Study of Knowledge  Knowledge dissemination    Subjects and Objects of Knowledge  January 13 , 2014  The  “Savannah Theory”  Came ‘down from the trees’ ‘Man the Hunter’ Hostile land of ferocious beasts First weapons were spears made of animal bone Survival of the fittest   “Aquatic Ape theory of Evolution”  ­ Elaine Morgan (Alistair Hardy)  Structural Differences (webbed fingers) Bipedal posture and locomotion Social organization Capacity for seepch Naked foetus and hairless human adult Large deposists of subcutaneous fat A tendency towards face to face copulation Innate diving reflexes and swimming infants  Who are these accounts primarily about? Whose experience are they narrating?  From whose perspective is the account being told? How does this make a difference to  what is being told? Subjectivity matters, knowledge is partial. Knowledge communities, and whose  knowledge counts? Who validates knowledge? Context/community are relevant to what  knowledge is produced, and why it is produced. As knowledge makers we must question  where knowledge comes from. Feminist Objectivity  Positivism/Empiricism  Strong Social Constructivist Perspective  Subjectivity (Subject Position) Accountability  Research Community  World’s ‘Independent Sense of Humour’   The Problem (Code):  Logical positivism and positivist empiricism (Anglo­American tradition) overdetermine  how we understand objectivity and truth.  ‘S’ knows that ‘p’ Knower – a neutral, exchangeable person Known – an observable fact (physics) Result: “knowledge worthy of the name must transcend the particularities of experience  to achieve objective purity and value and neutrality” (721)  The Problem (Haraway):  Scientistic (arrogant, masculinist) positivism  Strong Social (relativist) constructionism Neither a satisfactory alternative!  “I, and others, started out wanting a strong tool for deconstructing the truth claims of  hostile science by showing the radical historical specificity, and so contestability, of every  layer of the onion of scientific and technological constructions” but “So much for those  of us who would still like to talk about reality”  The Solution: CODE RECONSIDER The Knower (the subjects of knowledge) The Known (The objects of knowledge)  The Solution: Haraway  “Feminist Objectivity” that produces a better version of knowledge Situated Knowledges Vision (mediated knowledge – neither innocent nor simply given)  No God Trick  (There is only one view, fallacy)  Experiment # 1: The View From Below ­Resonates with feminist standpoint theory All knowledge is partial (incomplete) and situated You may be able to see a better truth from below (less susceptible to masculinist  arrogance) But no position is innocent or automatic  You must work to see, and account for your position.  Just as many biases to see with more objectivity. Multiple truths.   Experiment # 2: Prosthetic Vision We need help to see, prosthetics remind us that all knowledge is mediated + partial What is “real” is determined by how we know No mediation is “innocent” we need to account for our apparatuses (device).   What is real is determined by what we use to determine what’s real. Account for all the  devices that decipher knowledge. What methods are used to discover and disseminate  truth, knowledge, reality etc.  Experiment # 3: The “God Trick”  No one can see everything Trying to be a knowledge­master usually results in violence  Experiment # 4: Exchange the Box for a Person Objects of knowledge are not constant, transparent, or fully knowable Partial knowledge can still be empirically ‘true’  ~ Tutorial: Knower versus the Known  Known: static, agency, fixed, unmovable   Knower: neutral, white/euro/American, male, upper­middle class, able bodied, cisgender  Truths subject to fallacy, hierarchy of privilege   ~~ TH  Jan 20     , 2013    Assignment: Can we ever ethically and faithfully represent others? Craft your own  position, original thesis.  Specific issues: context of interviewing, colonization,  intersectionality etc. (4 readings)   3­4 pgs (900­1100 words), not just an opinion   READINGS. CRITICAL ENGAGEMENT.  Ethical Representation  Raising awareness to defend subject, to be their voice (fear), depunk the muths of insufficient knowledge etc. Who are you speaking for? Is one in a position to speak for the subject? Women/queer/politics of group identity. Where and how do we make those divisions. What parts are being represented? Personal bias etc. Alcoff: Speaking for others happens in a variety of ways Doucet: Telling others’stories is affected by a variety of relationships: 1) Between researchers and ourselves + our ‘ghosts’ 2) Between researchers and our research subjects 3) Between researchers and the communities we belong to “Crisis of Representation” Feminist, Postcolonial and other Social Justice efforts Post-structural theory (e.g Foucault, Deluze) and “strong social constructionism” (Haraway) Certain kinds of speaking for others being dangerous. Growing awareness of privileged groups speaking for the subaltern (dangerous). Reinforces the privileged position of authority. Not only describing but creating a subjectivity. Adrienne rich, “Politics of Location” – always located somewhere. “If we have learned anything in these years of late twentieth-century feminism, it’s that that “always” blots out what we really need to know: When, where, and under what conditions has the statement been true? What about in th
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