The Epistemology of the Question of Authenticity, in Place of Strategic Essentialism

Hypatia 26 (2):258--279 (2011)
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The question of authenticity centers in the lives of women of color to invite and restrict their representative roles. For this reason, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Uma Narayan advocate responding with strategic essentialism. This paper argues against such a strategy and proposes an epistemic understanding of the question of authentic- ity. The question stems from a kernel of truth—the connection between experience and knowledge. But a coherence theory of knowledge better captures the sociality and the holism of experience and knowledge.

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Emily S. Lee
California State University, Fullerton


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