Drawn By Hand: Students as Graphic Memoirists, Heidi Bollinger
Educators have begun to recognize the value of inviting students to be creative participants in the genre they study. Indeed, the process of creating a graphic memoir deepens students’ self-knowledge, particularly when they depict unresolved experiences. The act of not only writing but hand-drawing a graphic memoir cultivates self-reflection in students whose lives are precarious. The slow compositional process compels students to experience timeless immersion, something that eludes students whose lives are frenetic. The slow, deliberative, and exploratory process of creating a handmade artifact compels students to engage in self-reflection while gaining a deeper understanding of the graphic memoir.
Dr. Heidi Bollinger is an Associate Professor of English at CUNY Hostos, a community college that serves the South Bronx. Her research has most recently been published in Pedagogy, Studies in the Novel, and a/b: Autobiography Studies
Teaching Memoir in Qatar: Navigating Between the Public and Private Self, Sam Meekings
Mass emigration in Qatar has led to a reassessment of identity. The memoir classroom offers a microcosm of current challenges in defining identity for both expatriates and Qataris. In memoir “something like a splitting of selves is required in order to feature within the text while constructing it” (Maftei 2013: 59), and student memoirs here reveal further splitting: a negotiation between ‘Western’ and ‘Arab’ identities; a concern with the concept of ‘belonging’; and an awareness of the juxtaposition between public and private selves. This paper will examine how teaching life writing can be adapted for these specific local contexts.
Sam Meekings is Assistant Professor of Writing at Northwestern University in Qatar. He is the co-editor of The Place and the Writer: International Intersections of Teacher Lore and Creative Writing Pedagogy (Bloomsbury, 2020), and the author of Under Fishbone Clouds, The Book of Crows, and The Afterlives of Dr Gachet.
How can creative nonfiction writing make history salient to the present?Clark Pomerleau
How can creative nonfiction writing make history salient to the present? My “U.S. History and Life Writing” students practiced abstracts, biography, exposition, literary journalism, lyric essay, nature or travel writing, and creating a gripping introduction and conclusion, so each formed a portfolio of chapters about a chosen topic of interest. Historical writing genre models featured “unsanitized” histories of trauma in marginalized people’s pursuit of social justice. Most students developed rapport in peer workshopping (that helped some through the start of the pandemic) and many reported success at stretching and improving writing skills.
Clark A. Pomerleau is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of History at University of North Texas. Memory, social justice, gender, and sexuality feature in his history and creative writing, including Califia Women (2013) and his first poetry chapbook, Better Living through Cats (Jan. 2021).