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This year, the Spinoza Chair will be held by Linda Martín Alcoff, Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. The central topic is the impact op colonialism on current day epistemology. Alcoff will deliver two lectures.

The modern era of epistemology, from Descartes forward, emerged simultaneously with European colonial expansion. As we know from the sociological studies of science, knowledge projects have specific local genealogies and orientations, and the knowledge projects concerning knowledge itself have been no different. How has modern epistemology been impacted by colonialism, and how might we turn course?

Linda Martín Alcoff

Over Linda Martín Alcoff

Linda Martín Alcoff is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. She earned her PhD at Brown University after doing undergraduate work at Florida State University and Georgia State University. Her books include Rape and Resistance: Understanding the Complexities of Sexual Violation; The Future of Whiteness; Visible Identities: Race, Gender and the Self, which won the Frantz Fanon Award; and Real Knowing: New Versions of the Coherence Theory.

About the Spinoza Chair

Since 1995, the Philosophy Department of the University of Amsterdam has annually appointed a foreign philosopher to the Spinoza chair. As part of the appointment, the Spinoza professor gives a number of lectures intended for a broad audience that wants to stay informed about contemporary developments in philosophy.

Lecture 1: Extractivism as a model for Modern Epistemology

Extractivist epistemologies work analogously to extractivist capitalism: seeking an epistemic resource of some sort---such as a piece of pharmacological knowledge held by an indigenous community or rural healer concerning the medicinal potential of a given plant, or an artifact from an indigenous funeral site. The extractivist epistemic approach treats this epistemic resource as separable from its origin, and then renders it into a knowledge commodity with exchange value over which exclusive rights can be contractually defined, protected and enforced. But to do this involves a whole series of metaphysical and epistemological assumptions about the nature of knowing as well as the norms of good knowing.

Lezing 2: A Decolonial Dialogic Approach as a Corrective Epistemology

Decoloniale benaderingen benadrukken de manier waarop contexten onze kennispraktijken informeren en beperken. Deze nadruk is bedoeld als tegenwicht tegen de overmoed die een transcendent beoordelingsvermogen claimt. Maar hoe gaan we na de erkenning van de context naar de volgende fase? Corrigerende benaderingen moeten uitbreiden wat het betekent om 'met' anderen te weten. Het ideaal van ontvankelijkheid voor een open, publieke sfeer moet rekening houden met koloniale geschiedenissen en meervoudige, conflicterende publieken.