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Epistemic Injustice and Religious Identities

Amandine Catala‘s Canada Research Chair on Epistemic Injustice and Agency and François Claveau‘s Canada Research Chair in Practical Epistemology are inviting submissions for the upcoming workshop: “Epistemic Injustice and Religious Identities”.

McGill University, March 6-7, 2024.

Epistemic injustice and epistemologies of ignorance are powerful tools to uncover the epistemic dimensions of oppression and domination. These tools, developed by critical race theorists and feminist scholars, have exposed many ways in which the credibility and intelligibility of social groups can be linked to social power and how dominant groups can avoid resistant knowledge and silence knowers to preserve their privilege.

Miranda Fricker’s (2007) account of testimonial and hermeneutical injustice is now a common starting point to talk about epistemic injustice, and José Medina’s Epistemology of Resistance (2013) offers an expanded, more contextualized and polyphonic account. From there, many other concepts have been developed to capture the complex and manifold epistemic wrongs that marginalized people can suffer, including testimonial quieting and smothering (Dotson 2011), willful hermeneutical ignorance (Pohlhaus 2012), hermeneutical domination (Catala 2015), agential epistemic injustice (Lackey 2020; Medina 2021), testimonial void (Carmona 2021), etc. Epistemologies of ignorance (Mills 1997; 2007; Tuana 2006; Sullivan and Tuana 2007) also have contributed to uncovering the epistemic wrongs of domination and have many points of overlap with epistemic injustice.

Yet, in this rapidly growing literature little has been said about religion and how someone can suffer epistemic wrongs on the basis of one’s religious identity. Though some work has addressed how epistemic injustice can happen in the field of philosophy of religion (De Cruz 2020a; 2020b; Panchuk 2020b), within religious education classrooms (Moyaert 2019a; 2019b; Stones and Fraser-Pearce 2021; 2022; Strhan and Shillitoe 2022), in relation with religious trauma (Panchuk 2020a), more specifically because of someone’s religious identity (Kidd 2017; Lougheed 2020; Lynch 2022; Beauchamp 2023), and also how one can ignore one’s religious privilege (Markowitz and Puchner 2018; Ferber 2012), much work remains to be done.

This workshop is an invitation to remedy this lacuna and encourage scholars of epistemic injustice to engage with religious identity and scholars of religion to engage with epistemic injustice. It is also an opportunity to build a network of scholars interested in the topic.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to: 

  • Contexts in which certain religious identities are more at risk of suffering from epistemic injustice.
  • Intersections of racial, gender, and religious identities and their impact on epistemic wrongs.
  • (Dis)similarities of racial, gender and religious identities with regard to epistemic wrongs.
  • Specific religious identities that are more likely to suffer epistemic injustices.
  • Specific types of epistemic wrongs that religious persons can suffer.
  • Workings of religious ignorance in (secular) society.
  • Obstacles to the epistemic agency of religious persons in secular society.
  • How social structures and institutions impact a religious person’s epistemic agency.
  • How the lens of epistemic injustice and ignorance can shed light on issues of religion in the public sphere.
  • What would epistemic justice for religious persons require?

Confirmed Keynote Speaker: 

Michelle Panchuk, Murray State University

Format of the workshop: 

This workshop will be held in person in Montreal, Canada. We will, however, have the possibility to accommodate speakers who would not be able to join in person with a hybrid format. We only ask that, in this case, you commit to attending the whole workshop. Each presenter will give a 25-minute presentation followed by 25 minutes of Q&A. Please note that this is a pre-read workshop. All speakers are expected to have read the papers in advance.

We intend to publish a special issue (venue to be decided) building on this workshop. Since speakers will be encouraged to submit their work for the special issue, the material submitted here should not already have been published elsewhere, in whole or in part.

Guidelines for submission: 

  • Format: 500 words abstract, pdf or Word, prepared for anonymous review.
  • Please include in your email the following details: name, paper title, institutional affiliation (if applicable), contact information (email address), and whether you intend to participate in person or remotely.
  • Deadline for the submission of abstracts: September 10, 2023.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by October 15, 2023. (5000-6000 word papers will be expected by February 1, 2024)
  • Please, send your submissions, along with any question or concern, togilles.beauchamp2@mail.mcgill.ca

Organized by: 

  • Gilles Beauchamp (he/him), McGill University, Doctoral candidate
  • Maëlle Turbide (she/her), Université de Sherbrooke, Doctoral candidate


Beauchamp, Gilles. 2023. ‘Epistemic Injustice as a Ground for Religious Education in Public Schools’. Religious Education 118 (2): 119–32. https://doi.org/10.1080/00344087.2023.2181916.

Carmona, Carla. 2021. ‘Silencing by Not Telling: Testimonial Void as a New Kind of Testimonial Injustice’. Social Epistemology 35 (6): 577–92. https://doi.org/10.1080/02691728.2021.1887395.

Catala, Amandine. 2015. ‘Democracy, Trust, and Epistemic Justice’. The Monist 98 (4): 424–40. https://doi.org/10.1093/monist/onv022.

De Cruz, Helen. 2020a. ‘Philosophy of Religion From the Margins: A Theoretical Analysis and Focus Group Study’. In The Lost Sheep in Philosophy of Religion: New Perspectives on Disability, Gender, Race, and Animals, edited by Blake Hereth and Kevin Timpe, 31–54. Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion 21. New York: Taylor & Francis.

———. 2020b. ‘Seeking out Epistemic Friction in the Philosophy of Religion’. In Voices from the Edge. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198848844.003.0002.

Dotson, Kristie. 2011. ‘Tracking Epistemic Violence, Tracking Practices of Silencing’. Hypatia 26 (2): 236–57. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01177.x.

Ferber, Abby L. 2012. ‘The Culture of Privilege: Color-Blindness, Postfeminism, and Christonormativity’. Journal of Social Issues 68 (1): 63–77. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.2011.01736.x.

Fricker, Miranda. 2007. Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

Kidd, Ian James. 2017. ‘Epistemic Injustice and Religion’. In The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice, edited by Ian James Kidd, José Medina, and Gaile Pohlhaus, Jr., 386–96. Routledge Handbooks in Philosophy. London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Lackey, Jennifer. 2020. ‘False Confessions and Testimonial Injustice’. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 110 (1): 43–68.

Lougheed, Kirk. 2020. ‘Epistemic Injustice and Religious Experience’. In The Lost Sheep in Philosophy of Religion: New Perspectives on Disability, Gender, Race, and Animals, edited by Blake Hereth and Kevin Timpe. Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion 21. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Lynch, Thomas. 2022. ‘Epistemic Injustice and the Veil: Islam, Vulnerability, and the Task of Historical Revisionism’. Culture and Religion 21 (3): 280–97. https://doi.org/10.1080/14755610.2022.2115524.

Markowitz, Linda, and Laurel Puchner. 2018. ‘Structural Ignorance of Christian Privilege’. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 31 (10): 877–94. https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2018.1506180.

Medina, José. 2013. The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations. Studies in Feminist Philosophy. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

———. 2021. ‘Agential Epistemic Injustice and Collective Epistemic Resistance in the Criminal Justice System’. Social Epistemology 35 (2): 185–96. https://doi.org/10.1080/02691728.2020.1839594.

Mills, Charles W. 1997. The Racial Contract. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

———. 2007. ‘White Ignorance’. In Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance, edited by Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana, 11–38. SUNY Series, Philosophy and Race. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Moyaert, Marianne. 2019a. ‘Interreligious Hermeneutics, Prejudice, and the Problem of Testimonial Injustice’. Religious Education 114 (5): 609–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/00344087.2019.1610927.

———. 2019b. ‘Interreligious Learning, Ricoeur, and the Problem of Testimonial and Hermeneutical Injustice’. Journal of Nationalism, Memory & Language Politics 13 (2): 205–23. https://doi.org/10.2478/jnmlp-2019-0014.

Panchuk, Michelle. 2020a. ‘Distorting Concepts, Obscured Experiences: Hermeneutical Injustice in Religious Trauma and Spiritual Violence’. Hypatia 35 (4): 607–25. https://doi.org/10.1017/hyp.2020.32.

———. 2020b. ‘That We May Be Whole: Doing Philosophy of Religion with the Whole Self’. In The Lost Sheep in Philosophy of Religion: New Perspectives on Disability, Gender, Race, and Animals, edited by Blake Hereth and Kevin Timpe, 55–76. Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Religion 21. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Pohlhaus, Gaile. 2012. ‘Relational Knowing and Epistemic Injustice: Toward a Theory of “Willful Hermeneutical Ignorance”’. Hypatia 27 (4): 715–35.

Stones, Alexis, and Jo Fraser-Pearce. 2021. ‘Some Pupils Should Know Better (Because There Is Better Knowledge than Opinion). Interim Findings from an Empirical Study of Pupils’ and Teachers’ Understandings of Knowledge and Big Questions in Religious Education’. Journal of Religious Education 69 (3): 353–66. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40839-021-00155-5.

———. 2022. ‘Is There a Place for Bildung in Preparing Religious Education Teachers to Support and Promote Epistemic Justice in Their Classrooms?’ Journal of Religious Education 70 (3): 367–82. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40839-022-00187-5.

Strhan, Anna, and Rachael Shillitoe. 2022. ‘The Experiences of Non-Religious Children in Religious Education’. Journal of Religious Education 70 (3): 261–72. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40839-022-00180-y.

Sullivan, Shannon, and Nancy Tuana, eds. 2007. Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. SUNY Series, Philosophy and Race. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Tuana, Nancy. 2006. ‘The Speculum of Ignorance: The Women’s Health Movement and Epistemologies of Ignorance’. Hypatia 21 (3): 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1527-2001.2006.tb01110.x.