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Agency: Promiscuous and Protean

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Abstract:

In this essay, I propose that agency (1) is communal and participatory, hence, both constituted and constrained by externals that are material and symbolic; (2) is "invented" by authors who are points of articulation; (3) emerges in artistry or craft; (4) is effected through form; and (5) is perverse, that is, inherently protean, ambiguous, open to reversal. Those claims are illustrated and confounded through an analysis of the text, created by a white woman twelve years after the event, of the speech allegedly delivered by Sojourner Truth at the 1851 woman's rights convention in Akron, Ohio.

Keywords: Agency; Author Function; Seriality; Sojourner Truth; Techné

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1479142042000332134

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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