General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title White ignorance. Epistemology of race and domination
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Monika Bobako
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position AMU professor
Faculty Faculty of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Semester 2024/2025 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code 23-PIE-ERD




Module aim (aims)

The aim of the course is to examine a phenomenon of "white ignorance" and discuss its role in stabilising systems of racialised inequalities that have operated both in present-day and historical societies of the modern period. The course will start with presentation of the most important theories of white domination that have been developed in social sciences, philosophy and cultural studies. We will particularly focus on the epistemological aspect of this domination and analyse societal mechanisms that link power relations with the processes of knowledge (and "unknowledge") production. During the classes we will discuss selected instances of historical events and experiences, both individual and collective, that have become objects of such "unknowledge", and examine political as well as psychological stakes involved in its creation and perpetuation. The course will conclude with discussion on the prospects of overcoming "white ignorance" and with posing a question regarding adequate forms of knowledge (as well as standards of knowledge production) that could replace it.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Command of English sufficient to read and discuss literature on the subject in this language


Introduction: white privilege and ignorance

Race and racism: a history

White supremacy - theoretical frameworks

Race and epistemologies of ignorance

White ignorance - literature and philosophy

White ignorance and production of history: Haiti

White ignorance and the image of Africa

Rhetorical strategies and producing ignorance

Intersectionality and white ignorance

Ethical motivations and reproduction of ignorance

Non-white perspective on white ignorance


Reading list