Call for Publications
Theme: Epistemic Decolonization
Publication: Philosophical Papers
Date: Special Issue (July 2020)
The growing body of work on epistemic injustice can be seen as
falling roughly along two strands. The first involves understanding
the phenomenon in relation to central epistemological (and moral)
concepts, such as ‘knowledge’ and ‘(epistemic) agency’. The second
focuses on epistemically unjust connections between knowledge and
power, and aims to illuminate broader social issues that plague our
patriarchal, racial, and supposedly post-colonial world. ‘Cultural
imperialism’ and ‘decolonization’ have been discussed for
generations, but only a subset of this work focuses on the epistemic
features of these phenomena. Such work seeks to ‘decolonise
knowledge’: to identify, disentangle, and rectify the power
imbalances that arise in the light of the dominance of colonial
practices determining what we know and do not know.
This special issue of Philosophical Papers aims to put these strands
in dialogue with each other, by focusing our efforts toward
understanding what it means to decolonise knowledge, and how to go
about achieving this, in the light of recent discussions of the kinds
of epistemic injustice there are in the social world.
Possible Questions (but not exhaustive):
- What is epistemic colonization, and why – if at all – is it a
useful notion? What are its important features?
- If epistemic colonization is a socially systemic phenomenon, a
feature of communities, then what kinds of epistemic injustice (are
allowed or encouraged to) take place within an epistemically
colonized community? Are some of these kinds currently overlooked in
- How is epistemic colonization related to similar phenomena, such as
the ignorance of the privileged, hermeneutical injustice, or
- What, precisely, are the wrongs of epistemic colonization? Are they
moral, epistemic, and/or other kinds of wrongs? What are its central
harms? How is life improved in the light of epistemic decolonization?
- When and why do we want to decolonise knowledge? Is it a moral
demand, or an epistemic one, or both? What are the aims of epistemic
- Should ‘decolonization’ ever mean ‘ridding of all colonial
influences’, or is it always something weaker? Which institutions,
traditions, and disciplines – educational and non-educational – need
to be decolonized, and how?
- What are the virtues of the epistemically decolonized? What is the
relationship between epistemic decolonization and
- Will epistemic decolonization inevitably involve our following
different norms or believing different things, from those we do now?
Or might decolonization involve having a different epistemic
relationship to colonial (ways of) thought?
- Is it coherent to theorize epistemic decolonization in English or
other colonial languages?
- Is theorizing epistemic decolonization justified in the light of
more urgent problems facing the colonized? Might it be necessary for
addressing those problems?
- How are we to conceive of the epistemic decolonization of
The deadline for receipt of submissions is 1 March 2020.
This issue of Philosophical Papers, comprising both invited and
submitted articles, will appear in July 2020.
Manuscripts must be prepared for blind review, and no longer than
6000 words, and must include a 200-word abstract. Manuscripts should
be submitted electronically, as a pdf- or word-document attachment,
to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Authors must include their full
name, affiliation, and email address with their submission.
Further enquires may be addressed to either Veli Mitova
<email@example.com> or Ward E. Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Veli Mitova (University of Johannesburg)