Decolonizing Queer Epistemologies: Section Introduction

Authored by: Robert Kulpa , Joseli Maria Silva

The Routledge Research Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472455482
eBook ISBN: 9781315613000
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043331


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Since the 1960s and the publication of original works by Kuhn (1996), Feyerabend (1993), Foucault (2002), the Western European and anglophone intellectual hemispheres have been going through a continuous change from positivist to more critical epistemologies (Carr, 1987). In the following decades these parts of the world also lived through rebellious social and cultural mobilizations that are now often called ‘new social movements’ – feminism, black liberation, black feminism, lesbian and gay liberation, and others. These movements made the issue of ‘location’ one of their primary objects of critique. For contemporary social initiatives and academic social sciences and humanities, particularly important are feminist debates about ‘standpoint theory’ in the 1980s (Harding, 1991, 2004; Hekman, 2004) and about ‘situated knowledge’ in the 1990s (Visweswaran, 1994; Haraway, 1997), along with, and developing since the 1970s, postcolonial studies (Fanon, 1967; Nandy, 1983; Said, 1978; Spivak, 1995). Among other things, they all share an interest in ‘self-retlexivity’, ‘situated knowledge’, ‘politics of location’ and ‘critical epistemologies’, an interest from which this section of the Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities also stems. Although these ‘alerting processes’ are already decades long, we believe that the contemporary production and circulation of (scientific) knowledge, also within gender and sexuality studies, and geographies, is still affected by the ‘coloniality of power’ (Quijano, 2000, 2007) related to the (metaphorical and physical) place of knowledge enunciation.

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