Narrative Psychology and Storytelling: Recovering the Past to Build Feminist Futures

Spring 2021
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 50
8 12 Credits per quarter
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Beginning in the late 1400s, successive phases of capitalism combined coercive regimes of racialized labor, with land, resources, technology and technical knowledge to transform entire economies, societies, and ecosystems in various parts of the world.How did enslaved people, women, queer and gender-non-conforming folks in colonized communities preserve their histories, and traditions, and nurture a sense of self in contexts that tried to erase, demean and devalue their cultures? What role did story-telling and oral traditions play in collective self-preservation in the face of adversity? How might we recover hidden, suppressed and overlooked histories of colonized people in particular contexts? And how can such stories about the past help us imagine different futures? These are some of the questions that will guide our inquiry-based program work this quarter.

Commitments for oppressed people to stay silent are multi-layered, embedded within individual, interpersonal, community, and structural levels. At the level of the nation-state, there is an investment in preserving accounts of history that re-assert the power of the nation; forgetting distances responsibility from the continued aftermath of violence so that the entanglements of coloniality which structure everyday life are made invisible. If historical erasure can be considered a form of violence, archives have the capacity to promote distributive justice, or to return stories to their communities.

In this program, we will explore the ways in which archives can produce and reproduce social justice and injustice through their constructions of the past, engagements in the present, and shaping of possible futures. For their final projects, students will conduct archival research and construct their own archival collection that tells a story about gender, race, and class in their lives. For this project, students will be asked to think about how historical material can illuminate present realities and shape feminist futures. Throughout the quarter, we will learn to how use conceptual tools from feminist theory, critical race theory and political economy to develop intersectional frameworks of analysis.

This program will be taught entirely online. Students can expect our remote teaching to be a blend of about 30 hours/week of asynchronous (self-paced) and 10 hours/week of synchronous (scheduled) work. For example, there will be written assignments and discussions using Canvas, videos that students watch on their own time, live online lectures and discussions on Zoom as well as virtual one-on-one consultation. To successfully participate in this program, students will need a quiet place to read and write, as well as access to a computer with a reliable internet connection and word processing software.Our approach will emphasize participation in synchronous (live) sessions; however, if students find themselves unable to participate due to technology, caregiving obligations, economic disruption, health risk, or illness, they can work with faculty to pursue alternate options to earn related credit.

Students who enroll for 12 credits will work on creating a final project based on archival research, constructing their own archival collection that tells a story about gender, race, and class in their lives. At the end of the quarter, students will present their work in class to their peers. An 8-credit option offers the opportunity to participate in the coursework for this program, while forgoing the project-presentation requirements.


Spring 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (12): 30276
Fr (12): 30279
Fr - Sr (8): 30280

Academic details

Preparatory For

This program is preparatory for careers and future studies in political economy, education, post-colonial studies, cultural studies and community advocacy.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$45 for a reader with a compilation of program readings


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting