“By epistemic violence, I understand the very contribution to violent societal conditions that is rooted in knowledge itself: in its formation, shape, set-up, and effectiveness. […] Epistemic violence is deeply embedded in our knowledge as well as in the ways on which we strive towards it.”

Claudia Brunner 2015


“I have thus defined epistemic violence as a forced delegitimation, sanctioning and repression […] of certain possibilities of knowing, going hand in hand with an attempted enforcement […] of other possibilities of knowing.”

Sebastian Garbe 2013


“Epistemic violence, that is, violence exerted against or through knowledge, is probably one of the key elements in any process of domination. It is not only through the construction of exploitative economic links or the control of the politico-military apparatuses that domination is accomplished, but also and, I would argue, most importantly through the construction of epistemic frameworks that legitimise and enshrine those practices of domination.”

Enrique Galván-Álvarez 2010


“Of course, the phenomenon in question would not ordinarily be thought of as violence: it is too respectable, too academic, too genteel for that. It is violence all the same, and deserves to be seen for what it is.”

Andrew Norman 1999


“The clearest available example of such epistemic violence is the remotely orchestrated, far-flung, and heterogeneous project to constitute the colonial subject as Other. This project is also the asymmetrical obliteration of the trace of that Other in its precarious Subject-ivitiy. It is well known that Foucault locates epistemic violence, a complete overhaul of the episteme, in the redefinition of sanity at the end of the European eighteenth century. But what if that particular redefinition was only a part of the narrative of history in Europe as well as in the colonies? What if the two projects of epistemic overhaul worked as dislocated and unacknowledged parts of a vast two-handed engine?”

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak 1988