chapter  13
14 Pages

I wish that I could have known before

Female Biography and feminist epistemologies
WithDee Polyak

This chapter situates Female Biography in a politics of invisibility in order to reveal the ways in which Mary Hays's project constitutes a historically situated response to erasure. Female Biography is an intervention; an arsenal of accounts of women throughout time, and a concept that demands theoretical exploration and validation. As a compendium, Female Biography is embedded in hierarchical power-relations because it represents the lived experiences of mostly privileged White women; however, as a concept, 'female biography' is not bound to what Mary Hays constructed in 1803, rather 'female biography' is a concept in process. The authority of Female Biography rests in the experiences of women. Female Biography, then, is a starting place for developing a set of standpoints that formulate theory. The concept of 'female biography' can be situated within feminist epistemology.