The Distinct Epistemic Injustice of Genocide Denialism
The wrong of genocide denial is usually described in terms of a further violation of the dignity of victims, survivors, and their descendants, by attacking their memory, and ultimately, the truth. In my project, I attempt to shed light on this relationship between dignity, memory, and truth in the context of genocide and its denial, by considering particular patterns of genocide denial as instances of epistemic injustice.
An epistemic injustice is an ‘intrinsic injustice’: it wrongs someone particularly in his or her capacity as a knower, and therefore in a capacity of essential human value. In focusing on those on the receiving end of an epistemic injustice, we become aware of the immediate intrinsic epistemic and ethical harm that it poses to members of the formerly victimized group. Thus, the project aims to formulate a normative account of the wrong of genocide denialism by evaluating it through the lens of an epistemic injustice, considering it as a particular case of disrespectful and unjustified challenge to the memory and testimony of members of formerly victimized groups. Starting from the perspective of victims, the project will also further investigate the ethical-cum-epistemic implications of genocide denialism for society more generally.