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Zero-Point Hubris: Science, Race, and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Latin America (Reinventing Critical Theory)

Zero-Point Hubris: Science, Race, and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Latin America (Reinventing Critical Theory)

Current price: $46.00
Publication Date: December 16th, 2021
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers


Operating within the framework of postcolonial studies and decolonial theory, this important work starts from the assumption that the violence exercised by European colonialism was not only physical and economic, but also 'epistemic'. Santiago Castro-G mez argues that toward the end of the eighteenth century, this epistemic violence of the Spanish Empire assumed a specific form: zero-point hubris. The 'many forms of knowing' were integrated into a chronological hierarchy in which scientific-enlightened knowledge appears at the highest point on the cognitive scale, while all other epistemes are seen as constituting its past. Enlightened criollo thinkers did not hesitate to situate the Black, Indigenous, and mestizo peoples of New Granada in the lowest position on this cognitive scale. Castro-G mez argues that in the colonial periphery of the Spanish Americas, Enlightenment constituted not only the position of epistemic distance separating science from all other knowledges, but also the position of ethnic distance separating the criollos from the 'castes'. Epistemic violence--and not only physical violence--is thereby found at the very origin of Colombian nationality.

About the Author

Santiago Castro-Gómez is professor of philosophy at the University of Santo Tomás and the University Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. He has taught as visiting professor at Duke University, Pittsburgh University, and the University of Frankfurt. His book, Critique of Latin American Reason is now a classic text of Latin American philosophy. His many other publications include La hybris del punto cero, Tejidos oníricos, History of Governmentality, Volumes I & II, and Revolutions without Subject. George Ciccariello-Maher is Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science at Vassar College. Don T. Deere is Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University.