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Crafting Critical Stories

Toward Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion, and Voice


Edited By 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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Introduction: Weaving Together Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion, and Voice


For many of us who would describe ourselves as teaching for social change, storytelling has been at the heart of our pedagogy. In the context of social change storytelling refers to an opposition to established knowledge, to Foucault’s suppressed knowledge, to the experience of the world that is not admitted into dominant knowledge paradigms. Storytelling is central to strategies for social change…(in) education. (Razack, 1998, p. 36)

As critical pedagogues teaching for social change, we believe in the power of stories to engage, transform, and catalyze social action. As teachers and qualitative researchers, we are immersed in stories—our own and those of others—and the productive interplay between the two. As pedagogues whose work focuses on addressing sociological issues in education, we believe that our work in the classroom and in the community is to engage students in critical reflection on their own (hi)stories in order to gain richer, more complex perspectives on the inequities in educational opportunities for historically marginalized populations. Similarly, as qualitative researchers, we experience the ethical tensions and artistry involved in re-presenting the lives of individuals and communities in ways that are authentic and acknowledge the situated nature in which stories are imparted.

This book spans the borders between teaching and research, to explore a practice common to both within social justice education, crafting critical stories. Critical stories are those stories that speak to the constitution of experiences within a sociopolitical context (Barone, 1992); that acknowledge their development within...

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