Thursday, January 22, 2009

College Topic: Narratives and Social Change

10-second review: A summer seminar for working women at Bryn Mawr College from 1921 to 1938 produced women’s autobiographies that gave the students a consciousness of their collective experience.

Title: “Liberating Voices: Autobiographical Writing at the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers, 1921-1938.” Karyn Hollis. College Composition and Communication (February 1994), 31-60. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary/Quote: “This group consciousness is indeed very crucial to women’s empowerment, but I would add that history shows us that unless women and other oppressed groups are provided with the discourse of collective experience, protest and power, they will likely remain in a weakened individualist frame of mind.”

Comment: Using the same model as described in the article, modern students write autobiographies of their experience as students. In one sense, these autobiographies would be a step in developing the class as a community. But look out. Students (an oppressed group?) might begin to seek empowerment as students—as in the model involving women workers in the 1920s and 1930s. RayS.

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