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Knowledge from the global South is in the global South
  1. Seye Abimbola
  1. School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Seye Abimbola, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; seye.abimbola{at}

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In social systems or spaces, distance between the centre and the periphery breeds epistemic injustice. There are growing accounts of epistemic injustice in health-related fields, as in the article by Pratt and de Vries.1 The title of the article asks: ‘Where is knowledge from the global South?’ Like me, you may answer by saying: ‘Knowledge from the global South is in the global South’. That answer says a lot about how we right epistemic injustice done to actors in the global South or the periphery, including in health ethics. Pratt and de Vries identified four sets of actors (individuals, institutions, journals and funders) responsible for righting epistemic injustice. For three of the four sets of actors, they recognised the need for—or the possibility of—symmetry between global North and global South. Except journals. They did not seriously consider that journals are either present in or could belong to the global South; to the periphery.

Platforms for knowledge exchange, circulation, cultivation and curation—such as journals, conferences, publishers, blogs, archives, seminars, books and the media, social or traditional—are neither physically nor epistemically neutral. They are situated. The BBC cannot do for Nigeria or Australia what it does for Britain; neither can the BMJ. Many of us take our position at the centre or periphery as neutral, natural, necessary or permanent. But the African American writer Toni Morrison proved the opposite with her career: ‘I stood at the border, stood at the edge and claimed it as central. l claimed it as central, and let the rest of the world move over to where I was.’2 Although physically in the USA, Toni Morrison was writing …

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  • Funding The author is supported by a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award [DE230101551] from the Australian Research Council

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.