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 Professor
Faculty Faculty of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Semester 2021/2022 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code 23-PIE-ERD


Tuesday, 11.30-13.00

First meeting 12 October

The course will start in the online format (MS Teams), if the number of participants is no more than 30 we will shift to the offline meetings, building: 6 Grunwaldzka street, room 46.

Module aim (aims)

The aim of the course is to examine a phenomenon that critical race theorists have named "white ignorance" and identified as one of the factors that stabilise systems of racialised inequalities operative both in present-day and historical societies of the modern period. The course will start with presentation of the most important theories that conceptualise white domination from the perspective of social sciences, philosophy and cultural studies. However, our main interest will focus on cognitive and epistemological dimensions of this domination as well as societal mechanisms that link power relations with the processes of knowledge (and "unknowledge") production. During the classes we will analyse 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 conditions of prospective overcoming of "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 literature on the subject in this language


Reading list

· Alcoff, L. M. (2017). Philosophy and Philosophical Practice: Eurocentrism as an epistemology of ignorance. W The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice. Routledge.

· Fredrickson, G. M. (2003). Racism: A Short History. Princeton University Press.

· Griffin, J. H., & Bonazzi, R. (2010). Black Like Me (50th Anniversary ed. edition). Berkley.

· Medina, J. (2012). The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and the Social Imagination. Oxford University Press.

· Mills, Ch. W. (2003). White Supremacy as Sociopolitical System: A Philosophical Perspective. in: A. Doane, E. Bonilla-Silva (eds.) White Out: The Continuing Significance of Racism. Routledge.

· Mills, C. W. (2007). White ignorance. In: S. Sullivan, N. Tuana (eds.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. State University of New York Press.

· Sullivan, S. (2007). White Ignorance and Colonial Oppression: Or, Why I Know So Little about Puerto Rico. W S. Sullivan, N. Tuana (eds.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. State University of New York Press.

· West, C. (2001). Genealogy of Modern Racism. In: P. Essed, T. Goldberg David (eds.), Race Critical Theories. Text and Context. Wiley-Blackwell.