The Structure of Knowledge in Westernized Universities: Epistemic Racism/Sexism and the Four Genocides/Epistemicides of the Long 16th Century

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Vol: 11, Issue: 1

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Grosfoguel, Ramón
Enrique Dussel; Cartesian philosophy; racism; sexism; genocide; post-colonialism; Ethics and Political Philosophy; Political Economy; Political Theory; Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies
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article description
This article is inspired by Enrique Dussel's historical and philosophical work on Cartesian philosophy and the conquest of the Americas. It discusses the epistemic racism/sexism that is foundational to the knowledge structures of the Westernized University. The article proposes that the epistemic privilege of Western Man in Westernized Universities' structures of knowledge, is the result of four genocides/epistemicides in the long 16th century (against Jewish and Muslim origin population in the conquest of Al-Andalus, against indigenous people in the conquest of the Americas, against Africans kidnapped and enslaved in the Americas and against women burned alive, accused of being witches in Europe). The article proposes that Dussel's argument in the sense that the condition of possibility for the mid-17th century Cartesian “I think, therefore I am” (ego cogito) is the 150 years of "I conquer, therefor I am" (ego conquiro) is historically mediated by the genocide/epistemicide of the "I exterminate, therefore I am" (ego extermino). The 'I exterminate’ is the socio-historical structural mediation between the idolatric 'I think' and the 'I conquer.'