Invisible In/Humanity

Feminist epistemic ethics and rhetorical studies 1

Authored by: Kundai Chirindo

The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Communication

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138329188
eBook ISBN: 9780429448317
Adobe ISBN:


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Drawing on Miranda Fricker's concept of epistemic injustice, this chapter analyses epistemic practices in communication and rhetorical studies. I argue that the heuristic schemas that dominate in rhetorical studies tend to be masculinist, hetero- and cis-, and Euro- and U.S. American-centered. To the extent that these dominant paradigms enable neglecting a sufficiently broad representation of human communicative and rhetorical practices, they consign the humanity of others to epistemic oblivion. This is because from the perspective of in/justice, epistemic practices are morally ambivalent, capable of effecting both vice and virtue. I focus on two types of practices that effect epistemic injustice: testimonial injustice and hermeneutical injustice. The chapter illustrates the invisible inhumanity of these practices through a brief reception study of the rise and presidency of Barack Obama in rhetorical studies. The chapter concludes by suggesting why scholars in communication and rhetorical studies should strive to make their respective subdisciplines more human through the pursuit of epistemic justice.

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