Jill Stauffer: Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard
It is often argued that great trauma destroys a person’s speech, and that without speech, one is not able to relate the harm done, to ask for justice, or to restore what was lost. Although a long stream of feminist scholarship has critically analysed the role of speech, politics and justice from the perspective of the victim, much of the focus has been on the conditions which allow for the oppressed to speak; but few have considered if what is said is heard at all. In other words, the predominant subject of inquiry is the agent of speech rather than the listener.
Whilst empowering people to speak in a public platform is vital and by no means to be underappreciated, overemphasis may direct our gaze only towards the subject. Thus, it is not enough to protest the grammar rules shaping speech, but also to identify and protest legal, political, and social deafness. Surely, both are intricately connected, as Gayatari Spivak’s influential work reminds us how the subaltern’s access to...
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