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Philosophy Speakers: Land(point) Epistemologies: Toward Perceiving the Place of Ecological Violence

Date & Time:
February 1, 2019 | 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
SS 1253
Esme Murdock, San Diego State University

About the Talk: 

Attention to historical and continuous forms of social and political violence between human groups is a prescient topic of academic discussion. In particular, processes of repair in the form of political reconciliation are readily discussed and written about. However, attention to ecological forms of violence left unaddressed in even formally closed or “completed” reconciliation processes remain underdeveloped, especially when these reconciliatory processes center around settler-Indigenous conflict.

This presentation will offer an interpretation of settler colonialism as a structure and system founded upon the practices of ecological violence as well as their attendant erasure. In particular, this presentation will offer an argument that identifies diverging conceptions of land as foundational aspects of epistemic vantage point and hermeneutical context that often lead to incommensurable perceptions of land and violence. Within the context of settler states, land can often be perceived through dominant (white, Eurowestern, settler) epistemic frameworks in ways that are epistemically violent, which both attempt to justify and also not perceive landed violence against non-dominant Others. I will explore this argument through the examination of  attempts to achieve Bedouin land justice through land rematriation claims filed in settler Israeli juridical settings occurring in the Naqab desert. 

About the Speaker: 

Esme G. Murdock is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at San Diego State University. She works in the areas of environmental philosophy and environmental ethics and social and political philosophy with particular attention to environmental justice, philosophies of race and gender, and settler colonial theory. Her research explores the intersections of social/political relations and environmental health, integrity, and agency. Specifically, her work troubles the purported stability of dominant, largely euro-descendent, and settler-colonial philosophies through centering conceptions of land and relating to land found within African American, Afro-Diasporic, and Indigenous eco-philosophies. She has work appearing in Environmental Values and the Journal of Global Ethics.


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