171. Unsettling The Coloniality of Knowledge: Toward More-Than-Human Approaches to Epistemological and Environmental Justice

Mohammad Kasifur Rahman, The University of Texas at Dallas; Kathryn Whitlock, The University of Texas at Dallas;

Most academic disciplines today remain entrenched in a lack of epistemic trust. The theories and methods through which knowledge production is validated are still determined at the centers of global academic production, while some epistemologies, counted as 'peripheral', are prevented from disseminating beyond their national borders. Non-Western epistemologies are stunted by hegemony and the pervasiveness of anthropocentric Western thought and are thus not central in the shaping of academic fields. Specifically, academic disciplines are additionally characterized by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein's notion of white empiricism, through which only white people (typically white heterosexual men) are read as having a fundamental capacity for objectivity and those humans who do not fall into these categories are produced as an ontological other. We must reckon with the separation of human agency and thought from nature as the colonial imposition of an epistemological-ontological divide and parse out the differences between two frames of agency: an Indigenous understanding of Place-Thought and Euro-Western epistemological-ontological beliefs. In addition, it is time for us to think about humans subjected to toxic exposures who are thought of as 'disposable populations' because of their positions in the global and social hierarchies. This panel seeks to create an international and interdisciplinary forum to think about 'other' as a method to dismantle the racialized, classed, gendered, ableist, and geographical hierarchies to envision how we can abandon speciesist ways of thinking and acting that distorts a sense of continuity between our species and others (including humans within our species that are treated as the 'other').

Contact: kasif.rahman@utdallas.edu, kathryn.whitlock@utdallas.edu

Keywords: Social Movements and STS, Decolonial and Postcolonial STS, Environmental/Multispecies Studies, Disability and Crip Studies, Epistemic injustice and empires, White empiricism

Published: 04/07/2023