Gwen Ottinger F'20

Gwen  Ottinger
Associate Professor
Politics
Drexel University

Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars 2020
Associate Professor
Politics
Drexel University
Justice in Environmental Policy through Epistemic Innovation
For residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences during academic year 2020-2021

For 25 years, residents of communities adjacent to oil refineries have developed new technologies for representing air quality, and with them, new concepts for expressing harms caused by pollution. Their interventions have been misrecognized by regulators as bids for inclusion rather than responses to epistemic injustice. This project develops the concept of “epistemic innovation” to better characterize communities’ novel representational strategies. Combining ethnographic research with ideas from science and technology studies, political theory, and feminist ethics, it shows how epistemic injustice can become structural through scientific and technological standards, and argues that epistemic innovation is necessary to achieving environmental and social justice.