Life Storytelling as Agency: Championing First-generation College Students through the Narrative Approach, Leila Pazargadi
This talk discusses the ways in which a narrative approach taken in summer bridge programs allows for first generation college students to own their life stories and exchange them through reciprocal acts of listening. This approach, which asks students, peer educators, and professors to exchange autobiographical narratives, raises awareness about identity capital while encouraging identification with others. Comparing case studies at UCLA, Vrije University in Amsterdam, and Nevada State College, this talk shows the way in which the exchange of life narratives can result in empathetic witnessing that boosts solidarity, inclusivity, and empowerment amongst historically underrepresented and under-served students.
Leila Moayeri Pazargadi is Associate Professor of English at Nevada State College, currently teaching literary courses about postcolonial, ethnic American, and Middle Eastern writers. She received her Doctorate of Philosophy in Comparative Literature from UCLA in 2012. Her research focuses on post-9/11 Middle Eastern women writers.
Collaborative Life Writing Projects: Challenges and Opportunities, Klaudia Lee
Life writing is frequently considered as a private act of composition, and one that often involves a critical reflection of one’s own life and that of the others. What are the benefits and challenges if students are asked to participate in a collaborative life writing project that aims to capture, explore and reflect upon the relationship between personal life history, memory and place? This short paper will draw upon my experience of including a creative nonfictional group project surrounding the theme of memory and place in a life writing course for undergraduate students.
Dr Klaudia Lee is an Associate Professor at the Department of English, City University of Hong Kong. Her teaching and research interests include Victorian literature and culture, spatiality, translation, life writing, comparative and world literature. Her monograph, Charles Dickens and China: Cross-Cultural Encounters, 1895-1915, was published by Routledge in 2017.
The perceptions of students on integrating life writing into FYC, Demet Yigitbilek
To investigate the perceptions of students about the consumption and production of life writing texts, I have taught FYC as Composing Our Lives through linguistic narratives and conflict letters and collected student uptake documents detailing what they think of life writing and what they do with it in their lives. The data collected throughout the semester shows: (1) students see a strong relationship between life writing and its healing effects, (2) life writing helps them explore themselves in different ways, and (3) it provides relatable content to their readers. The presentation will detail the interpretation of the findings.
Demet Yigitbilek is a PhD student in English Studies. Her primary focus is in translingual writing, both in applied linguistics and composition studies. She has been integrating life writing into her teaching of composition for three years now, enjoying the positive feedback she gets from her students every semester.