Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
4Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Grosfoguel FM

Grosfoguel FM

Ratings: (0)|Views: 1,913 |Likes:
Published by Abu Ali

More info:

Published by: Abu Ali on May 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

03/29/2014

pdf

text

original

 
 29 H
 
UMAN
 A
 
RCHITECTURE
 : J
 
OURNAL
 
OF
 
THE
 S
 
OCIOLOGY
 
OF
 S
 
ELF
 -K
 
NOWLEDGE
 , VIII, 2, F
 
ALL
 2010, 29-38
 
H
 
UMAN
 
A
 
RCHITECTURE
 
: J
 
OURNAL
 
OF
 
THE
 
S
 
OCIOLOGY
 
OF
 
S
 
ELF
 
-K
 
NOWLEDGE
 
ISSN: 1540-5699. © Copyright by Ahead Publishing House (imprint: Okcir Press) and authors. All Rights Reserved.
 HUMANARCHITECTURE
 Journal of theSociology of Self-
 
A Publication of OKCIR: The Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics)
 This paper is about the way epistemicracism shapes contemporary discussionson Islamophobia. The
rst part is a discus-sion about epistemic racism in the world-system. The second part is on the Westernmale hegemonic identity politics and thefundamentalist responses to it. The thirdpart is on epistemic Islamophobia and thesocial sciences.
E
 
PISTEMIC
 R
 
ACISM
 
IN
 
THE
 W
 
ORLD
 -S
 
YSTEM
 Epistemic racism and epistemic sexismare the most hidden forms of racism andsexism in the global system we all inhabit,the “Westernized/Christianized modern/colonial capitalist/patriarchal world-sys-tem” (see Grosfoguel 2008a). Social, politi-cal, and economic racisms and sexisms aremuch more visible and recognized todaythan epistemological racism/sexism. How-ever, epistemic racism is the foundationalform and older version of racism in that theinferiority of “non-Western” people as below the human (non-humans or sub-humans) is de
ned on their closeness toanimality and the latter is de
ned on the basis of their inferior intelligence and, thus,lack of rationality. Epistemic racism oper-ates through the privileging of an essential-ist (“identity”) politics of “Western” maleelites, that is, the hegemonic tradition of thought of Western philosophy and socialtheory that almost never includes “West-ern” Women and never includes “non-Western” philosophers/philosophies andsocial scientists. In this tradition, the“West” is considered to be the only legiti-mate tradition of thought able to produceknowledge and the only one with access to“universality,” “rationality” and “truth.”Epistemic racism considers “non-Western”knowledge to be inferior to “Western”knowledge. Since epistemic racism isentangled with epistemic sexism, Western-
Ramón Grosfoguel
is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and aSenior Research Associate of the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris. He has published many articles and books on the political economy of the world-system and on Caribbean migrations to Western Europe and theUnited States.
Epistemic Islamophobia and Colonial Social Science
Ramón Grosfoguel
University of California, Berkeley • Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
grosfogu@berkeley.edu
Abstract
: This article explores how epistemic racism shapes contemporary discussions onIslamophobia. Epistemic Racism is an underestimated aspect of racism. The
rst part is adiscussion about epistemic racism in the world-system. The second part is on the Western malehegemonic identity politics and the fundamentalist responses to it. The third part is on epistemicIslamophobia and the social sciences.
 
 30R
 
AMÓN
 G
 
ROSFOGUEL
 H
 
UMAN
 A
 
RCHITECTURE
 : J
 
OURNAL
 
OF
 
THE
 S
 
OCIOLOGY
 
OF
 S
 
ELF
 -K
 
NOWLEDGE
 , VIII, 2, F
 
ALL
 2010
 centric social science is a form of epistemicracism/sexism that privilege “Western”male’s knowledge as the superior knowl-edge in the world today.If we take the canon of thinkers privi-leged within Western academic disciplines,we can observe that without exception theyprivilege “Western” male thinkers and the-ories, above all those of European andEuro-North-American males. This hege-monic essentialist “identity politics” is sopowerful and so normalized—through thediscourse of “objectivity” and “neutrality”of the Cartesian “ego-politics of knowl-edge” in the social sciences—that it hideswho speaks and from which power loca-tion they speak from, such that when wethink of “identity politics” we immediatelyassume, as if by “common sense,” that weare talking about racialized minorities. Infact, without denying the existence of essentialist “identity politics” amongracialized minorities, the hegemonic “iden-tity politics”—that of Eurocentric male dis-course—uses this identitarian, racist, sexistdiscourse to discard all critical interven-tions rooted in epistemologies and cosmol-ogies coming from oppressed groups and“non-Western” traditions of thought (Mal-donado-Torres 2008). The underlying mythof the Westernized academy is still the sci-enti
cist discourse of “objectivity” and“neutrality” which hides the “locus of enunciation” of the speaker, that is, whospeaks and from what epistemic body-pol-itics of knowledge and geopolitics of knowledge they speak from in the existingpower relations at a world-scale. Throughthe myth of the “ego-politics of knowl-edge” (which in reality always speaksthrough a “Western” male body and aEurocentric geopolitics of knowledge) criti-cal voices coming from individuals andgroups inferiorized and subalternized bythis hegemonic epistemic racism andepistemic sexism are denied and discardedas particularistic. If epistemology hascolor—as African philosopher EmmanuelChukwudi Eze (1997) points out so well—and has gender/color—as African-Ameri-can Sociologist Patricia Hills Collins (1991)has argued—then the Eurocentric episte-mology that dominates the social scienceshas both color and gender. The construc-tion of the epistemology of “Western”males as superior and the rest of the worldas inferior forms an inherent part of theepistemological racism/sexism which hasprevailed in the world-system for morethan 500 years.The epistemic privilege of the “West”was consecrated and normalized throughthe Spanish Catholic monarchy’s destruc-tion of Al-Andalus and the European colo-nial expansion since the late 15
 th
 century.From renaming the world with Christiancosmology (Europe, Africa, Asia, and later,America) and characterizing all non-Chris-tian knowledge as a product of pagan anddevil forces, to assuming in their own Euro-centric provincialism that it is only withinthe Greco-Roman tradition, passingthrough the Renaissance, the Enlighten-ment, and Western sciences that “truth”and “universality” is achieved, theepistemic privilege of Western, Eurocentric,male “identity politics” was normalized tothe point of invisibility as a hegemonic“identity politics.” It became the universalnormalized knowledge. In this way, all“other” traditions of thought were deemedinferior (characterized in the 16
 th
 centuryas “barbarians,” in the 19
 th
 century as“primitives,” in the 20
 th
 century as “under-developed,” and at the beginning of the 21
 st
 century as “anti-democratic”). Hence,since the formation of Western LiberalSocial Sciences in the 19
 th
 century, bothepistemic racism and epistemic sexismhave been constitutive of its disciplinesand knowledge production. Westernsocial sciences assume the inferiority,partiality, and the lack of objectivity in itsknowledge-production of “non-Western”knowledge and the superiority of the“West.” As a result, Western social theory is
 
 E
 
PISTEMIC
 I
 
SLAMOPHOBIA
 
AND
 C
 
OLONIAL
 S
 
OCIAL
 S
 
CIENCES
 31
 H
 
UMAN
 A
 
RCHITECTURE
 : J
 
OURNAL
 
OF
 
THE
 S
 
OCIOLOGY
 
OF
 S
 
ELF
 -K
 
NOWLEDGE
 , VIII, 2, F
 
ALL
 2010
  based on the experience of 5 countries(France, England, Germany, Italy and theUnited States) that makes only less than 12percent of the world population. The pro-vincialism of Western Social Science socialtheory with false claims to universality,pretends to account for the social experi-ence of the other 88 percent of the worldpopulation. In sum, Eurocentrism with itsepistemic racism/sexism is a form of pro-vincialism that is reproduced inside thesocial sciences today.
 W
 
ESTERNIZED
 M
 
ALES
 ’ I
 
DENTITY
 P
 
OLITICS
 Against this hegemonic “identity poli-tics” that always privileged Christian andWestern beauty, knowledge, traditions,spiritualities, and cosmologies while deem-ing as inferior and subaltern the non-Chris-tian and non-Western beauty, knowledge,traditions, spiritualities, and cosmologies,those subjects rendered inferior and subal-tern by these hegemonic discourses devel-oped their own “identity politics” as a reac-tion to the racism of the former. This pro-cess is necessary as part of a process of self-valorization in a racist world that rendersthem inferior and disquali
es their human-ity. However, this process of identitarianaf 
rmation has its limits if it leads to funda-mentalist proposals that invert the binaryterms of the hegemonic “Western” MalesEurocentric racist and sexist philosophicaltradition of thought. For example, if it isassumed that subaltern non-Western eth-nic/racial groups are superior and that thedominant Western racial/ethnic groups areinferior, they are merely inverting the termsof hegemonic Western racism withoutovercoming its fundamental problem, thatis, the racism that renders some human beings inferior and the elevation of othersto the category of superior on cultural or biological grounds (Grosfoguel 2003).Another example is that of accepting—asdo some Islamic and Afrocentric funda-mentalists—the hegemonic Eurocentricfundamentalist discourses that the Euro-pean tradition is the only one that is natu-rally and inherently democratic, whereasthe non-European “others” are presumedto be naturally and inherently authoritar-ian, denying democratic discourses andforms of institutional democracy to thenon-Western world (which are, of course,distinct from Western liberal democracy),and as a result, supporting political author-itarianism. This is what all Third Worldfundamentalists do when they accept theEurocentric fundamentalist false premisethat the only democratic tradition is theWestern one, and, therefore, assume thatdemocracy does not apply to their “cul-ture” and their “societies,” defendingmonarchical, authoritarian and/or dictato-rial forms of political authority. This merelyreproduces an inverted form of Eurocentricessentialism. The idea that “democracy” isinherently “Western” and that “non-demo-cratic” forms are inherently “non-Western”is shared both by Eurocentric fundamental-ist discourses and its varieties such as“Third Worldist” fundamentalisms.The “divisions” that results from theseidentity politics ends up reproducing in aninverted form the same essentialism andfundamentalism of the hegemonic Euro-centric discourse. If we de
ne fundamen-talism as those perspectives that assumestheir own cosmology and epistemology to be superior and as the only source of truth,inferiorizing and denying equality to otherepistemologies and cosmologies, thenEurocentrism is not merely a form of fun-damentalism but the hegemonic funda-mentalism in the world today. Those ThirdWorldist fundamentalisms (Afrocentric,Islamist, Indigenist, etc.) that emerge inresponse to the hegemonic Eurocentric fun-damentalism and that the “Western” pressput in the front pages of newspapers every-day are subordinated forms of Eurocentricfundamentalism insofar as they reproduce

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->