Making the Case

Feminist and Critical Race Philosophers Engage Case Studies

Edited by Heidi Grasswick & Nancy Arden McHugh

Subjects: Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, Epistemology, African American Studies, Gender Studies
Hardcover : 9781438482378, 360 pages, April 2021
Paperback : 9781438482385, 360 pages, January 2022

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Table of contents


Heidi Grasswick and Nancy Arden McHugh

Part I: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives on Case Studies

1. Building a Case for Social Justice: Situated Case Studies in Nonideal Social Theory
Corwin Aragon

2. The Coupled Ethical-Epistemic Model as a Resource for Feminist Philosophy of Science, and a Case Study Applying the Model to the Demography of Hispanic Identity
Sean A. Valles

3. Feminist Science Studies: Reasoning from Cases
Sharon Crasnow

Part II: Critiquing the Practice: The Case of Philosophy

4. The Power and Perils of Example: "Literizing Is Not Theorizing"
Lorraine Code

5. What Philosophy Does (Not) Know
Gaile Pohlhaus Jr.

6. Doing Things with Case Studies
Carla Fehr

Part III: Case Studies for Social Justice

7. Singing the "Blues" for Black Male Bodies: Epistemic Violence, Non-alterity, and Black-Male Killings
ShaDawn Battle

8. Land(point) Epistemologies: Theorizing the Place of Epistemic Domination
Esme G. Murdock

9. Epistemology and HIV Transmission: Privilege and Marginalization in the Dissemination of Knowledge
Lacey J. Davidson and Mark Satta

10. Mestizaje as an Epistemology of Ignorance: The Case of the Mexican Genome Diversity Project
Sergio Armando Gallegos-Ordorica

11. Epistemic Activism and the Politics of Credibility: Testimonial Injustice Inside/Outside a North Carolina Jail
José Medina and Matt S. Whitt


Analyzes the value of using case-based methodologies to address contemporary social justice issues in philosophy.


Making the Case brings together established and emerging philosophers who use case studies to address a variety of contemporary social justice causes. The contributors show both the depth and breadth of work in this area and highlight the distinctive approaches that feminist and critical race theorists, in particular, have pursued. For these theorists, the choice of the kinds of cases analyzed matters, not only pushing philosophy as a field to foreground the challenges facing marginalized groups but also affecting the kind of philosophy that results. This ensures that their theories do not reproduce the conceptual frameworks of dominant groups. By using thickly described cases, as opposed to the thinly described or hypothetical situations that have been the historic mainstay of philosophy, the contributors strive to create philosophy that never strays too far from the complexities of people's lives on the ground. The book provides philosophers with a host of methodologies, theories, and practical examples for use in social justice case work, with topics ranging from census design and gender bias in science to incarceration and the spate of recent police killings of black men and women.

Heidi Grasswick is the George Nye and Anne Walker Boardman Professor of Mental and Moral Science at Middlebury College and the editor of Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science: Power in Knowledge. Nancy Arden McHugh is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Wittenberg University and is the author of Feminist Philosophies A–Z and The Limits of Knowledge: Generating Pragmatist Feminist Cases for Situated Knowing, published by SUNY Press.