Originally Posted by Rotoshave
: the ways in which the structures of our thoughts; ie the way we categorize the world and organize and compartmentalize it into understandable structure for us to make sense of the world, is informed by racial categories coloring our experience of the world through racial discourse. Epistemology, of course, means the ways in which we know things and so a racialized epistemology, I would say, would be an epistemology appropriate by racism that manufactures or produces cultural or social knowledge in racialized ways.
: not sure about what this means at all, but in her abstract Harper writes "however, space, vegan or not, is raced and simultaneously sexualized and gendered directly affecting individuals and place." SO I think this has something to do with the notion that racialized epistemologies create racialized spatial norms, or places that are given racial meanings such as the "black" third world, the "white" first world, white suburbs, black inner cities, etc. I used the term to get at how racism, or whiteness, takes the raw data of our environments and manufactures a racialized meaning out of them.
-the epistemology of the AR / vegan movement
: just the way in which the AR/vegan movement manufactures knowledge based on its philosophical convictions.
Your explanation for 'racialized epistemology' sounds like something that could already be rendered by the term she introduced at some point: racialized consciousness. I find the latter term more intelligible than the former, although it too should be accompanied by actual examples of what forms such a racialized consciousness can take and (in this case) how they are present in the context of vegan outreach.
By the way, the term 'racialized consciousness' relates to the previous discussions we've had on racism: it
replace[s] racism as the traditional operative term in discourses on race. The concept of racialized consciousness will help us examine the ways in which consciousness is shaped in terms of racist social structures... 'Racialized consciousness' is a term that will help us understand why even the well-intentioned white liberal who has participated in the struggle against racism may perpetuate a form of racism unintentionally
See, that is showing how deeply rooted racism is in culture -- and how even well-intentioned people can end up reinforcing it or participating in it -- but does so without making the confusing "white -> racist" argument that you advocated. The notion of 'racialized consciousness' does not get caught in the problem of a very defeatist attitude, or the problem of robbing 'racism' of its condemning, pejorative power. And it doesn't require any further clarifications about how bigotry and racism differ etc. So I find it a far better way to frame the issue. (Although, like I said, even that term should be accompanied by examples of what forms the racialized consciousness has taken in a given context.)
As to the AR epistemology, can you give an example of how the AR movement manufactures knowledge? Does this mean physically producing information (printing books and leaflets), or does it mean creating theories and moral/political concepts that inform how people view the world?
As you can probably guess, my problem with Harper's paper is that it buries certain very valid points and concerns under a theoretical vocabulary which she uses in an extremely vague way and which is not really necessary at all to presenting her points. It seems like obfuscation and unnecessary verbosity to me, and I suspect she uses it just to meet some standards of academic writing.
For example, near the very beginning of the paper (italics removed):
Veganism [...] is about the ongoing struggle to produce socio-spatial epistemologies of consumption that lead to cultural and spatial change; it is about contesting the dominance of animal-product consumption narrative that is central to, and dominant in, the socio-historical as well as present nation-building rhetoric of the United States.
What are "socio-spatial epistemologies", especially in the context of veganism? Theoretical studies (logos
) about how the world is perceived ("known") in certain social situations and spatial locations? Or ways of knowing the world (ways of conceptualizing non-human animals, say) which are determined by, or restricted to, a given location and social context? And if it means the latter, what are
those "ways of knowing" in the context of veganism?
And what is the "spatial change" that veganism as a political movement is trying to accomplish? Political change restricted to certain spatial locations (Europe, US)? Political change that affects the "social space" (whatever the hell that is in this context)? It seems to me that what vegan outreach is trying to accomplish is change in the number of animals exploited and change in people's empirical and moral beliefs about animals -- what has this to do with space/spatiality? Vegan outreach may be trying to change the treatment of animals in "the west" -- which is a "space" -- but I dunno why one would therefore want to use the term "spatial change"; that is just confusing.
And what is "socio-historical rhetoric of the United States
", and how does animal consumption play a part in it?
How about "vegan spaces"
-- what are they? Are they norms, communities, social situations .. what? She refers to some authors who argue that "space is raced" but doesn't clarify what those authors mean by 'space'. At some point she talks about "psychic space"; at another about "social space". Is 'space' to be treated as equivalent to 'social space' throughout her paper, or is it a distinct concept? And again, what does even "vegan social
space" consist of?
Definitions and examples would be sorely needed.