Each spring, the Philosophy Department is proud to host Inspiring TriVia: The Sarah L. Hoagland Speaker Series. As professor emerita of Northeastern Illinois University, Dr. Hoagland generously endowed this series to foster philosophical discussion at the intersections of race, class, and gender. Hence the title: Inspire (to breathe life into), and TriVia (the goddess of crossroads). We keep these goals in mind when selecting speakers.

A heartfelt thank you to Dr. Sarah L. Hoagland for making it all possible.

Spring 2020

"Indigenous Epistemic Sovereignty through the Land" 
A Lecture by brian yazzie burkhart

March 5, 2020
3-4:40 p.m.
SU 214

Brian Burkhart is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma where he mentors Ph.D. students studying Native American and Indigenous Philosophy. He was an Associate Professor and Director of American Indian studies at California State University, Northridge, from 2010 to 2018. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma but was born and raised in the Navajo Nation of Arizona. Burkhart was one of the early members of the American Philosophical Association's Native American and Indigenous Philosophy committee and was chair of that committee from 2011 to 2015. He is a Southern powwow singer and Cherokee hymn singer.  

This presentation will examine the framework of epistemic guardianship that settler colonial power operates with in order to obscure, but not erase, Indigenous people and Indigenous knowledge. This kind of attempted erasure produces, on one side, a double-consciousness for Indigenous people that Vine Deloria Jr. calls transparency but also, on the other, settler epistemologies of ignorance. In contrast to this epistemic guardianship, Burkhart will discuss the liberatory power of epistemic sovereignty through the land, as one of many traditional and current tools of Indigenous resistance to settler colonial power. Epistemic sovereignty, like Indigenous notions of political sovereignty, disrupts the power of settler guardianship but does so through an explicit grounding in an always already in motion kinship relationship between people and land that produces this disruptive power through a resurgence of Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

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Past Lectures


Saba Fatima, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), "#MeToo in Muslim America." 


José Medina,  Northwestern University, "Racial Violence and Epistemic Activism."


Falguni Sheth, Emory University, "Race, Vulnerability and Violence."


Mariana Ortega, John Caroll University, "In-Between Selves: World Traveling and Resistance." 


Jacqueline Scott, Loyola University Chicago, "'Truth-tellers Are Not Always Palatable. There is a Preference for Candy Bars:' The Benefits of Racialized and Gendered Discomfort."


Charles Mills, Northwestern University, "Critical Philosophy of Race: The Challenge of Intersectionality."