Hi everyone. I finally remembered the name if the author who had written on epistemological failure. The name of the book is Fictions of Feminist Ethnography and it is written by Kamala Visweswaran. Although her book deals mostly with the possibilities of "failure" that happens during "fieldwork" I wanted to share a few passages that I thought connected to our discussion on the ethics of failure. Visweswaran begins her chapter called "Feminist Ethnography as Failure" by reflecting on a "fail" moment she had while in the field. She writes, "For our failures are as much a part of the process of knowledge constitution as are our oft-heralded 'successes.' Failure is not just a sign of epistemological crisis (for it is indeed also that), but also, I would argue, an epistemological construct" (99-100). Visweswaran goes on to critique the feminist ethnographer as "trickster" because as she states this "trickster" relies on "giving voice" and the knowledge that we can never fully know (100). She urges instead for a "suspension that we can ever wholly understand and identify with other women (displacing again the colonial model of 'speaking for,' and the dialogical hope of 'speaking with')" that allows for possibilities in failure" (100). I felt this related to our extensive discussion of the ethics of failure as Visweswaran is working through the possibilities that come from recognizing and acknowledging failure in research, ethnography, writing. It also made me think of how "giving voice" might relate to "bearing witness" and experience. Thoughts??
Kamala Visweswaran's "Possibilities of Failure"
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