My Body as a Witness Bodily Testimony and Epistemic Injustice

José Medina, Tempest Henning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


In this chapter, José Medina and Tempest Henning examine the role that bodily testimony can play in social and political epistemology. They develop an account of how to understand the testimonial force and content of non-verbal communicative acts, such as gestures and facial expressions, that depends on three features: The communicative context, the embodied positionality of the communicator, and the communicative uptake that the audience gives, or fails to give, to the expressive behavior of the body. In particular, Medina and Henning argue that under conditions of racial oppression, all racialized bodies-non-white as well as white-are epistemically valued in different ways and thus receive different kinds of communicative uptake. At the same time, Medina and Henning argue that bodily group testimony is well suited for cultivating in-group communicative solidarity and for giving center-stage to in-group members in testimonial dynamics, and so bodily communication can be used in resistant testimony.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationApplied Epistemology
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780198833659
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Bodily testimony
  • Communicative context
  • Communicative solidarity
  • Embodied positionality
  • Epistemic injustice
  • Non-verbal communicative acts
  • Resistant testimony

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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