What are the challenges that oppressed groups face when they try to protest under conditions of communicative marginalization and epistemic injustice? Bringing together speech act theory and the literature on epistemic injustice, this talk will analyze the different ways in which protests are silenced, and different ways of resisting such silencing through what I call epistemic activism. Elucidating the proper or improper uptake that publics give to protests, the talk will discuss the kind of communicative solidarity that we owe to social justice movements that advocate for the oppressed. An argument will be given for the special communicative obligations that we have toward oppressed protesting publics who face unfair communicative obstacles and silencing.
José Medina is Walter Dill Scott Professor of Philosophy with affiliations in the Departments of African American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Spanish and Portuguese. His primary fields of expertise are critical philosophy of race, feminist and queer theory, applied philosophy of language, social epistemology, and political philosophy. Medina has published four monographs, five edited (or co-edited) volumes, forty journal articles and twenty-seven book chapters. His books include The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations (Oxford University Press; recipient of the 2013 North-American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award), and Speaking from Elsewhere (SUNY Press, 2006). Medina’s new book, The Epistemology of Protest: Silencing, Epistemic Activism, and the Communicative Life of Resistance, is under contract with Oxford University Press