Professor to discuss epistemic politics in Indigeneity Initiative Teach-In

November 05, 2021

Headshot of Marcos Scauso

Marcos Scauso, assistant professor of political science, will discuss the violence and damage connected to labeling people as different during a day-long Indigeneity Initiative Teach-In on Tuesday, November 9 in the Piazza on the Mount Carmel Campus.

This topic is based on understanding the epistemic notion and how it relates to the institutional history of the United States, specifically in relation to Latin American cultures.

“This construction of a particular form of ‘civilization’ is the core justification for violence against anything that is different and 'othered,'” said Scauso. “The relevance of these notions also lays in that they might continue to enable and justify the violent and neo-colonial policies of the United States in the region today.”

Scauso investigated this topic by studying genealogy throughout different colonial eras. He will discuss his analysis on ontology, epistemology and temporality through the context of colonial and pre-independence movements in Latin America.

“The examination of these notions shows how ideas of a reality elevate, above other ways of knowing, a single definition of law and justice for the state. Notions of epistemology that are consistent with that reality then authorize, above other ways, of being a particular citizen," he said.

This topic helps students challenge their way of thinking and form solutions to daily problems that are often influenced by the societal standard based on colonial ideals, explained Scauso. Reflecting on the history and influences of mainstream society can open the door to progress, he added.

“These discussions lead us toward the possibility of questioning some of the deepest roots of these ‘othering’ tendencies and the ways in which we may reinforce them," Scauso said.

Scauso explained that he hopes students walk away having critically thought about inclusivity and what we regard as “others.”

“If these ideologies are arbitrary even when they are powerful and when they claim to be 'true,' then, we have to be able to ask ourselves how we might still be reinforcing them to hurt others and sustain our own privilege,” said Scauso.

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