Teaching Intercultural Communication through Life Writing, Lamees Al Ethari
The X Page: A Storytelling Workshop for Immigrant Women began as a SHRCC funded project to connect writers and artists with immigrant and refugee women in the local community. The project provides women with the tools to write their personal narratives and present them to the public. As part of knowledge mobilization, the women were invited to my Displacement Narratives course to present tangible examples of displacement. Students were able to build on their knowledge of migrant experiences, compare between published texts and unpolished personal accounts of migration, and understand the importance of these narratives in establishing intercultural communication.
Lamees Al Ethari holds a PhD in English from the University of Waterloo, where she has been teaching since 2015. She has published From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris and Waiting for the Rain: An Iraqi Memoir. She is a co-coordinator for The X Page Workshop and an editor with TNQ.
Working with life experience stories. On teachers’, course leaders’ and narrative coaches’ work to stimulate and shape autobiographical narrating, Katarzyna Wolanik Boström
Autobiographical storytelling has become increasingly popular in Sweden. In adult education, workshops, courses, “narrative cafes” etc. the participants learn ways to “discover” and present life experiences in oral or written form and to share their memories in interaction with others. How is narrative competence trained and developed? This presentation is based on interviews with teachers, course leaders and narrative coaches telling about their work to stimulate and shape autobiographical narrating, depicting the process of evoking memories and “polishing” them into stories. The leaders and teachers talked about benefits of narrating life experience, e.g. the identity-creating, transformative, social and emancipatory potential.
I am Associate Professor and senior lecturer at the Department of culture and media studies, Umea university, Sweden. My research interests concern narrativity, life stories and intersectionality. In a current project I investigate how autobiographic storytelling is used to create an inspiring, inclusive and emancipatory pedagogical and social space.
Teaching in the Aftermaths of Disaster, Ricia Chansky
The University of Puerto Rico reopened just forty days after Hurricane María made landfall. In a memoir assignment given the week we returned, students wrote that they were without utilities, water, food, and health care, some describing lost homes, family business, and even loved ones. The words “screaming” and “crying” appeared throughout their narratives. This presentation considers the mass-listening project “Mi María: Puerto Rico after the Hurricane” as a case study in disaster pedagogy, focusing on crossing campus boundaries to build partnerships with community organizations as a means of resituating student agency through witnessing and disseminating life stories.
Ricia Anne Chansky is Professor of literature in the Department of English at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. She is the co-editor of the scholarly journal, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, and editor of the Routledge Auto/Biography Studies book series.
Working-Class Voices and Visibility:Kit de Waal’s Anthology Common People, Christina Schönberger-Stepien
In times of economic, political, and social distress (e.g. Brexit, a world-wide pandemic), class has not only re-emerged as a literary theme but has been employed as a call for political and cultural action/activism. Kit de Waal’s anthology Common People (2019) assembles a range of established and lesser-known working-class writers in Britain. The crowdfunded project encourages an increased visibility of working-class writers in the literary scene. I am teaching this compilation in my seminar on working-class literature to provide a space for these diverse (autobiographical) narratives and to engage students in discussions on cultural production and representations of marginalised communities.
Christina Schönberger-Stepien is a lecturer at the Chair of English Literature at the University of Augsburg. Her PhD thesis explores the interplay of distance and closeness in contemporary second- and third-person autobiography. She holds an MA in English and American Studies and a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education.