Seminar: Dr Ibrar Bhatt and Dr Alison MacKenzie 'Just Google it: digital literacy and the epistemology of ignorance'

'Just Google it: digital literacy and the epistemology of ignorance'

Dr Ibrar Bhatt and Dr Alison MacKenzie, Queens University Belfast

12-1.30pm, Tuesday 4th December, Paterson's Land rm 1.19, Moray House School of Education

Watch Ibrar and Alison's seminar via Media Hopper


This paper examines digital literacy and how it relates to the philosophical study of ignorance. Ignorance of how digital technologies work (e.g. how users’ online activities can be used to the advantage of platform owners without the users’ knowledge, and how browsing can be confined) is still not well understood from the perspective of user practice. Building on work in Literacy Studies which has often examined ‘knowledge production’, we argue that a social practice approach to digital literacy can also help examine how epistemologies of ignorance may be produced, reproduced and sustained. Using data from a study which set out to explore the knowledge producing work of undergraduate students through interviews and recorded observations of assignment writing, we argue that particular digital literacy practices pave the way for the construction of certain forms of ignorance, and that this kind of Literacy inquiry is a vital step in better understanding the implications of online practices.


Dr Ibrar Bhatt, Lecturer, Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation

My research and teaching interests lie at the intersections of applied linguistics (including TESOL), literacy studies, and educational research. Much of this recently has been concerned with digital literacy and writing, and these interests emerge through my 2017 book 'Assignments as Controversies' (published by Routledge/T&F). Full biography 

Dr Alison MacKenzie, Lecturer, Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation

My academic background is in Philosophy of Education. I am interested in how injustice and inequality are reproduced and sustained by forms of ignorance, testimonial and hermeneutical injustices, lack of access to important capitals such as linguistic capital, and by the ways in which ordinary vices are often overlooked as important sources of injustice: cruelty, misogyny, hypocrisy, and so on.  My key areas of interest include SEN/Inclusion, The Capability Approach (Nussbaum), Education Policy, Philosophy of Emotions, Feminism and Gender (philosophical liberalism), Literacy/Linguistic Capital. Full biography


Date of Event
Event Leader
Jen Ross
Paterson's Land rm 1.19
Research Area
Digital Cultures