Centennial Honors College Western Illinois University Undergraduate Research Day 2014


Centennial Honors College

Western Illinois University

Undergraduate Research Day 2014

Poster Presentation

Myths & Facts of Sojourner Truth

Cierra Aiden

Faculty Mentor: Holly Stovall

Women’s Studies

According to Wendy Kolmar and Frances Bartkowski, epistemologies are theories of knowledge and knowledge production (Kolmar, Bartkowski, 2005, 37).Feminist epistemologies scrutinize the perpetuation of androcentric and male biased knowledge production. This process is implemented through the means of education, government, church and other professions. Feminist epistemology suggests that the production of knowledge is complex and is affected by one’s class, gender, and racial background

(Ted Honderich, 2005, 259). Furthermore, these theorists strive to reform the misconceptions of the traditional dissemination of knowledge so that all women are able to represent and present their own knowledge.

Consequently, male biased epistemological dissemination is not the only issue feminists struggle to deconstruct. Euro-centric epistemological distribution is a major contribution to the division within feminism. Since the women’s liberation movement made its beginnings, White women either excluded Black women or included them in disfiguring ways. The nineteenth century’s most eminent woman’s rights activist, Sojourner Truth, is a leading example. Through her profound speeches, Truth made significant contributions to the theory of knowledge. However, in order to keep Truth in a subjugated role, she was caricaturized by other feminists to fit an image that they saw fit for their movement; an image of an ignorant woman. Furthermore, misconceptions like the North having moral supremacy during slavery, freed slaves disregard for feminism, and conf usion with Harriet Tubman are myths that shadow Truth’s legacy. In this paper,

I will deconstruct the Euro-centric epistemological myths that construct Sojourner Truth and replace them with facts.