With Swinish Phrase Soiling Their Addition: Epistemic Injustice, Academic Freedom, and the Shakespeare Authorship Question
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Dudley, Michael Q. (2020). "With Swinish Phrase Soiling Their Addition: Epistemic Injustice, Academic Freedom, and the Shakespeare Authorship Question." E. Sengupta and P. Blessinger, (eds.), Teaching and Learning Practices for Academic Freedom. (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning Volume 34). Emerald Publishing, pp. 123-144.
This chapter argues that the near-universal exclusion from the academy of the Shakespeare Authorship Question (or SAQ) represents a significant but little-understood example of an internal threat to academic freedom. Using an epistemological lens, this chapter examines and critiques the invidious and marginalizing rhetoric used to suppress such research by demonstrating the extent to which it constitutes a pattern of epistemic vice: that, by calling skeptics “conspiracy theorists” and comparing them to Holocaust deniers rather than addressing the substance of their claims, orthodox Shakespeare academics risk committing acts of epistemic vice, injustice and oppression, as well as foreclosing potentially productive lines of inquiry in their discipline. To better understand this phenomenon and its implications, the chapter subjects selected statements to external criteria in the form of the Association of College and Research Libraries’ 2015 Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, which provides a set of robust normative dispositions and knowledge practices for understanding the nature of the scholarly enterprise. The analysis reveals that the proscription against the Shakespeare Authorship Question constitutes an unwarranted infringement on the academic freedom not only of those targeted by this rhetoric, but – by extension – of all Shakespeare scholars as well.