Epistemological Justice in Postcolonial Times

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Gurminder BHAMBRA, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
As Horkheimer most famously set out, critical theory is not simply about understanding emancipation or the conditions for emancipation, but contains also the practical aim of ‘emancipation from slavery’. For this latter claim to be borne out, it would require an acknowledgement of the ways in which freedom in the old world came into being alongside the introduction of slavery in the new world. Epistemological justice in postcolonial times would require an address of the ways in which slavery was integral to the Enlightenment project – structuring its knowledge claims – but rendered invisible to it. Further, the reparative history that brought slavery back into a consideration of Enlightenment’s ‘reason’ would then also have to consider the very real question of reparations for slavery by those who call themselves the inheritors of the Enlightenment. Challenging Enlightenment reason, has the related consequence of making reparations ‘reasonable’.