Embodied Inequalities: Can We Go Beyond the Geographies and Epistemologies of Ignorance?

Authors: Susan Saegert*, The Graduate Center CUNY
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Geographic Theory, Behavioral Geography
Keywords: pragmatism, epistemologies of ignorance, race, gender
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Galerie 3, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

People of color stuggle within academia and in the streets for recognition, freedoms and life itself. The official pragmatist canon contains both blind spots and clues for change. Interrogating the concept of epistemological ignorance derived from racial and sexual contracts (Mills, 1997;Pateman, 1988), the experiential truth of the claim will be explored and defended. Epistemological ignorance describes white, male, and Western tendencies to partially subconsciously but also willfully ignore understandings of reality that flow from the experiences and reasoning of groups of people historically excluded from the category of full humanity. Second, the paper explores how pragmatists of color and women address key issues of the habits, social practices, modes of thought, and challenges of inequalities they/we face. These thinkers have observed that being dominated produces both the epistemological strengths of “double consciousness” and brute vulnerability in the struggle over material and conceptual ownership of the geographies of bodies, public spaces, homes, communities, and even nations and continents. The implications for Pragmatic ways of knowing and acting are then considered centering on issues of the conflictual, affective, and space making aspects of the concept of community for people differently placed in hegemony.


Mills, C.W. (1997). The racial contract. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Pateman, C. (1988) The sexual contract. Palo Alto CA: Stanford University Press.

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