In the preceding chapters, I approached the changing understandings of experience and reason almost exclusively in terms of gender. In this chapter, I want to expand the discussion to include the ways in which epistemological hierarchies are also embedded in discourses of class and race. Within modern societies administered by industrial and governmental bureaucracies, gender continues to function as a category of differential power but must be understood as part of a broader taxonomy that serves to justify multiple forms of inequity. Specifically, the claim to be able to learn from experience, and the parallel claim that other people cannot, are central to the class identities and class relations of capitalism, the rise of the bureaucratic state, the emergence of the professions, and the European appropriation of the non-Western world. As Donna Haraway (1989) has argued, “the marked bodies of race, class, and sex have been at the center, not the margins, of knowledge in modern conditions” (p. 289). While the ‘Other’ is denied full human status, the
anxiety about the Other is the focus of attention. It is the topic of politics, of epistemology, of epistemology as politics.