Insurgent Scholarship and Cognitive Justice: Exploring Knowledge Production within and Beyond the Academy

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Marcelle DAWSON, Sociology, Gender and Social Work, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Increasing pressure to quantify and commodify knowledge has narrowed the scope of what counts as knowledge. Indeed, knowledge production within the university relies largely on methodological tools and theoretical premises developed and entrenched by European and American scholars. Consequently, many ‘knowledges’ that do not conform to the standards of Western epistemology have been dismissed as ‘anecdotal’, ‘trivial’ or ‘quaint’. Despite the neocolonial, neoliberal context within which it operates, the twenty-first-century university—both as agent of socialisation and site of knowledge production—remains a vital site for creating alternative futures. However, to preserve its crucial role as ‘critic and conscience of society’, knowledge production within the university must be decolonised and decommodified to make room for other ways of knowing. Prompted by Santos’ notion of global cognitive justice, this paper explores the idea of insurgent scholarship as a project of everyday resistance from within the academy aimed at transforming the ways in which knowledge is created, disseminated and valued. Insurgent scholarship aims to unveil the distorted history of knowledge and incorporate alternative ways of knowing and seeing into every aspect of academic labour. As such, insurgent scholarship entails reclaiming the university as a site of resistance.