Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 57 seconds

Social justice, design justice, pluralist feminism and indigeneity

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 57 seconds

I started writing this blogpost on my commute to work this morning but someone called me before I saved and apparently I lost it all. Here is take two.

There are 4 articles/essays I read over the past week or so which have been impacting my thinking deeply. 3 are by authors whose work I already respect, and one is new (on indegeneity). I’ll only give a brief on each below and I’m doing work in the background with them.

Social Justice Framework for OER and OEP

“With all the good intentions of the open education movement, unless the economic, cultural and political dimensions of social justice are adequately addressed, amelioratively in the short term and transformatively in the longer term, the value proposition of OER, and their underlying OEP, will most likely not be fulfilled in the Global South”

Hodgkinson-Williams, C. A., & Trotter, H. (2018). A Social Justice Framework for Understanding Open Educational Resources and Practices in the Global South. Journal of Learning for Development, 5(3), 204-224. Retrieved from

I liked this article’s practical application of Nancy Fraser’s work to OER. The most important thing for me was recognizing how different contexts and different audiences means impact of an intervention may have negative, neutral, ameliorative or transformative impacts on each. And the difference between economic, cultural and political social justice. I was aware of Fraser’s work before but this framework helped further my understanding. I annotated via

Design Justice and Intersectionality

I’ve been familiar with this work for a while but this article really expanded on it further. By Sasha Costanza-Chock where she highlights intersectionality and matrix of oppression. I also annotated with

I was particularly struck by my lack of knowledge of the matrix of oppression including white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, capitalism and settler colonialism. I hope to read further on this as I am slightly confused about the way the categories are framed but still find this frame helpful to clarify the oppressions we need to consider in intersectionality and their impact on design. I wonder why settler colonialism but not cultural imperialism is named, and why gender and sexuality form one category.

I also love the design justice approach and the level of detail they include for participatory design practices.

Costanza-Chock, Sasha, Design Justice: Towards an Intersectional Feminist Framework for Design Theory and Practice (June 3, 2018). Proceedings of the Design Research Society 2018. Available at SSRN:

Pluralist Feminism

This one impacted me really deeply but is a bit more difficult to write about because I am reading it off a borrowed eBook at my university library and the stupid annotations don’t export the text from the book! So frustrating. But the essay is published as a chapter in María Lugones’ book
Pilgrimages/peregrinajes: Theorizing coalition against multiple oppressions.

If I had to summarize the idea, it is that white women, when thinking of women of color, tend to pay lip service to difference, acknowledging it, but then ignoring this in more concrete practices. When they try to connect, they look at the ways a woman of color “is like us” rather than the other way round. It’s like they try understand or approach the experience of women of color by mirroring or reflecting their own, rather than interacting (the term Lugones uses) to understand from the viewpoint of the woman of color on her own terms. She also speaks of the complexity of difference… how race, colonialism and imperialism are different kinds of difference and need to be dealt with, in their intersectionality and complexity.


I also learned (though I should have already known) about my limited understanding of indigenous experience. Thanks to folks on Twitter for helping me understand better.

The article is by Zoe Todd about her experience of academic violence as an indigenous scholar, even when invited to speak at events. Entitled Your Failure of Imagination Is Not My Problem.

what I have come to realize is that many of the hostile encounters I have experienced in academia are, at least on some level, about failure of white people’s imagination. Failure to imagine Black, Indigenous and other racialized bodies in the hallways of academe. Failure to imagine epistemologies beyond those that fester in euro-western academic paradigms. Failure to imagine possibilities beyond jealously guarded white (often male) syndicates. Failure to imagine that white folks occupying space on stolen land ought to perhaps….ahem…tread a big more humbly. They are also about racism, white supremacy, sexism, classism, elitism, insecurity, jealousy, and greed.

I have a big reading list coming up..

Will report back as I go along 🙂

2 thoughts on “Social justice, design justice, pluralist feminism and indigeneity

  1. Reading…and as i read the first part something i am thinking a bit about is how do you say to people ‘hey this is OEP/OER’ when in fact they may have no sense of difference between open/not open 🙂 how can they understand and appreciate impact?

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