Socio-Epistemology and Reflexivity: Examining Identity and Politics in Identity Politics

Aisha Bah Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Ezgi Sertler Butler University
The way we have come to know and discuss identity politics as a subject matter itself suggests that there is something dirty about it—that it is selfish, particularistic, and overly concerned with privileging certain (or too many) group identities. Here, the perceived problem with identity politics concerns groups hierarchically placing a politics of identity above a politics of issues. Primarily enveloped in concerns with identity politics is that they should not concern matters too closely related to the self if we desire to be truly inclusive; they are antagonistic to generalist ideals insofar as they do not invoke a separation between identity and politics, a feature that generalist political platforms, such as antiracism and feminism, demand in order for their politics to be broadly applicable. In this paper, I argue that when dominant oppression-combative social movements choose to employ a flat analysis of social injustice and oppression, they become inadequate environments for groups who suffer from multiple oppressions to have their concerns understood and met. I support this by drawing on two parts of Kristie Dotson’s socio-epistemic designation of ‘oppression’ as a “multi-stable” phenomenon: 1) foundational in discussing oppression is that we regard it as a dynamic, convoluted, and nonsimplifiable subject in order to encapsulate multi-oppressed groups’ plights, and 2) occupying a positive socio-epistemic space is necessary for constructive and effective social inclusion and liberation. Ultimately, this paper chiefly aims to reconceptualize the link between identity and politics as vital for theorizing and achieving democratic citizenship.
Philosophy & Religion
Oral Presentation

When & Where

10:45 AM
Jordan Hall 336C