Cripistemology of the Coffin: The Resurgence of Subjugated Knowledges

Investigator: Prof. Dr. Astrid M. Fellner

This project builds on recent scholarship at the intersections of American literature, queer studies, disability studies, and Indigenous studies and aims at recovering what I call a cripistemology of the coffin. Invoking the coffin as a metaphor for subjugated or even prohibited knowledges that have been buried deep down in the cultural imaginary and that have the potential to resurge as haunting presences, I focus on what Boaventura de Sousa Santos has termed “cognitive injustice,” that is the failure to recognize the different ways of knowing of Indigenous people. As a result, I read Indigenous people’s ‘failure’ to comply with the rules of settler colonialism through the lens of cripistemology (Johnson/McRuer) in terms of productive alternative forms of meaning-making. My approach then entails a teasing out of the spectral remnants in canonical texts of North American literature and juxtapose them with contemporary performative practices.