Black Women Speak Back, Up, and Out
Edited By Venus E. Evans-Winters and Bettina L. Love
Chapter Seventeen: Responsibility, Spirituality, and Transformation in the (For-Profit) Academy: An Endarkened Feminist Autoethnography
← 190 | 191 →CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
An Endarkened Feminist Autoethnography
QIANA M. CUTTS
I use the term “endarkened” feminist epistemology to articulate how reality is known when based in the historical roots of Black feminist thought, embodying a distinguishable difference in cultural standpoint, located in the intersection/overlap of the culturally constructed socializations of race, gender and other identities, and the historical contemporary context of oppressions and resistance for African American women. (Dillard, 2006, p. 3)
In On Spiritual Strivings: Transforming an African American Woman’s Academic Life, Dillard (2006) argued for the decentering of traditional epistemological stances in support of a more culturally indigenous epistemology. Further expounding on her earlier work (Dillard, 2000), Dillard explored the “endarkened” feminist epistemology (EFE)—an epistemology that celebrates Black women’s ways of knowing, teaching, and researching in the academy. An EFE also values our experiences and voices, focuses on reciprocity and relationships, and uses stories to heal and affirm while nurturing spiritual and community connections (Okpalaoka & Dillard, 2011). Dillard (2006) identified the following six assumptions of EFE:
1.Self-definition forms one’s participation and responsibility to one’s community.
2.Researching is both an intellectual and a spiritual pursuit, a pursuit of purpose.
← 191 | 192 →3.Only within the context of community does the individual appear (Palmer, 1983) and, through dialogue continue to become.
4.Concrete experience within everyday life form the criterion of meaning, the “matrix of meaning making” (Ephraim-Donker, 1997, p. 8).
5.Knowing and research are both historical...
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