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UGA WMST 1110 - Counter-storytelling

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Critical race theory, defined by Tierney, is “an attempt to understand the oppressive aspects of society in order to generate societal and individual transformation”. The authors identify five central themes, these include: (1) the centrality of race and racism and their intersectionality withother forms of subordination; (2) the challenge to dominant ideology; (3) thecommitment to social justice; (4) the centrality of experiential knowledge and (5) the transdisciplinary perspective. Counter-stories are both a methodof telling a story of experiences that are often hidden and a tool for analyzing and challenging the stories of those in power who are likely the dominant voice. These counter-stories serve four main functions: (1) they can build community among those at the margins of society by putting a human and familiar face to educational theory and practice; (2) they can challenge the perceived wisdom of those at society’s center by providing a context to understand and transform established belief systems; (3) they can open new windows into the reality of those at the margins of society by showing the possibilities beyond the ones they and demonstrating they are not alone in their position; and (4) they can teach others that by combining elements from both the story and the current reality, one can construct another world that is richer than either the story or the reality alone. They develop counter-stories from at least four sources: (1) the data gathered from the research process itself; (2) the existing literature on the topic; (3) our own professional experience and (4) our own personal experience. They draw data from focus groups and individuals and look for patterns and themes in the data to focus on throughout the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative format of the article. It definitely made it more accessible and easier to digest. I found myself relating to the characters and envisioning myself in their roles. More traditional articles tend to stray away from anecdotal writing or share personal experiences in this context. The “mask” discussion was an important piece of this narrativefor me. I never thought about how minority individuals might feel as if they are wearing a mask in intellectual environments where they “weren’t” supposed to be. I feel like the story connected well with the topic of safe spaces and it was good to see a narrative where a safe space was actually on display and true discussion could take place with


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