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Crafting Critical Stories

Toward Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion, and Voice


Judith Flores-Carmona and Kristen V. Luschen

Critical storytelling, a rich form of culturally relevant, critical pedagogy, has gained great urgency in a world of standardization. Crafting Critical Stories asks how social justice scholars and educators narrate, craft, and explore critical stories as a tool for culturally relevant, critical pedagogy. From the elementary to college classroom, this anthology explores how different genres of critical storytelling – oral history, digital storytelling, testimonio, and critical family history – have been used to examine structures of oppression and to illuminate counter-narratives written with and by members of marginalized communities. The book highlights the complexity of culturally relevant, social justice education as pedagogues across the fields of education, sociology, communications, ethnic studies, and history grapple with the complexities of representation, methodology, and the meaning/impact of employing critical storytelling tools in the classroom and community.
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4. Here I Stand: College Students’ Critical Education Narratives


This chapter focuses on the use of critical education narrative and the centering of personal experience in the context of an Introduction to Gender Studies course. The course was aimed at challenging students to be more reflective about their education experiences and the schooling conditions of women and LGBTQ students. Sleeter’s conceptualization of Critical Family History “applies insights from various critical theoretical traditions to an analysis of how one’s family has been constructed historically within and through relations of power” (Sleeter, n.d., para 10). Informed by Sleeter, and drawing upon poststructural feminist and queer theories, we use what we call critical education narrative to explore students’ histories and experiences with/in relations of power in institutions of education.

We see as our contribution to this volume the queering of the use of narrative by resisting the “drive to sum up one’s self, one’s learning, and the other as directly, developmentally, and inclusively knowable and identifiable” (Miller, 1998, p. 371). We describe how we queered the production of narratives utilizing a layered approach that allowed for multiple and contradictory tellings. These layers included an initial self-portrait, an educational autobiography, journals, interviewing one another, and an end of semester self-analysis of students’ educational autobiography. Additionally, we discuss how we see the use of such narratives as having the potential to queer education more broadly. This involves moving beyond developing critical consciousness and questioning relations of power. Specifically, we suggest that critical education narratives can work to queer education, calling into question...

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