Experience and Knowledge: The Case of Sexual Abuse Memories

  • Linda Martín Alcoff


This chapter argues for a politically informed but realist approach to sexual abuse memories. A number of theorists have set aside questions of truth from understanding the memory wars—some because they reject the possibility that memory can be a domain of truth since it is so susceptible to suggestion, some because they work within analytic frames (psychoanalysis, for example) in which questions of truth are largely eclipsed by theories of projection and transference, and some because they believe that once we move into the domains of narrative and politics and have a properly sophisticated account of memory formation we must leave the question of truth behind. I argue we cannot leave the question of truth behind; however, this does not mean we can jettison a political account of the ways in which truth is framed, narrativized, and even made possible.


Sexual Abuse Child Sexual Abuse Semantic Contagion Epistemic Status Epistemic Responsibility 
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I want to thank Vrinda Dalmiya, Charlotte Witt, Sue Campbell, and Louise Antony for their extremely helpful feedback on this chapter.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hunter College, CUNY Graduate CenterNew YorkUSA

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