Archives, epistemic injustice and knowing the past

Landström, K. ORCID: 0000-0002-7681-0857, 2021. Archives, epistemic injustice and knowing the past. Ethics and Social Welfare, 15 (4), pp. 379-394. ISSN 1749-6535

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In this essay, I argue that the destruction or hiding of archives can cause long-lasting epistemic harms and constitute complex ethical challenges. The case of Kenya’s ‘migrated archives’ is argued to be an example of how actions in the past can have long-lasting epistemic consequences and can cause contemporary epistemic injustices and harms related to one’s knowledge of the past. The perpetrators of such harms and injustices are argued to have a backward-looking epistemic responsibility and to be liable to make epistemic amends. The practice of acknowledgement is suggested as one possible way to make effective epistemic amends. I argue that making effective epistemic amends would constitute a step towards addressing epistemic harms and injustices related to our knowledge of the past. However, it is important to remember that this would only constitute one out of many necessary steps in addressing epistemic injustice and that further individual, institutional and ideological changes are necessary.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Ethics and Social Welfare
Creators: Landström, K.
Publisher: Informa UK Limited
Date: October 2021
Volume: 15
Number: 4
ISSN: 1749-6535
Rights: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 09 Feb 2023 16:28
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2023 16:28

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