The English Department at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) is offering a summer institute for English language arts teachers on “The Power of Story.” The four-day institute provides 20 hours of professional development, covers a wide range of topics, and is taught by TCNJ faculty.
Day 2 Mí María: Disaster Narratives and the Language Arts Classroom
Over 150 students at the University of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico have gathered together under the direction of their English Professor to create a collection of personal narratives, protest chants, song lyrics, interviews, oral histories, photographs, comics, and radio broadcasts about local experiences living through Hurricane María and its aftermath. The soon-to-be published collection is just a small selection of these powerful acts of witness to modern-day disaster. In conjunction with the Voices of Witness project, these students are also contributing a major storytelling archive to the Humanities Action Lab for their traveling exhibition on disaster narratives.
In this one-day workshop, participants will read, watch, and listen to Mí María narratives and consider the range of autobiographical storytelling practices that comprise the project. They will also consider the students’ various methods of acquiring and recording these stories as part of their social-justice centered coursework in the English major. Together, participants will discuss the project as a mass-witnessing of both the tragedy of disaster and the triumph of solidarity as the Puerto Rican people came together to endure months of recovery and reconstruction. Participants will also have guided opportunities to consider developing their own storytelling projects the classroom. Together, they will also be able to review and consider adopting the Mí María project as part of their own language arts curricula.
For more information: http://voiceofwitness.org/stories-puerto-rico/
Lisa Ortiz-Villarelle (Day 3 facilitator)
Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle (Ph.D. Wayne State University) specializes in 20th and 21st century Multiethnic and Inter-American literature and autobiographical studies with specific interest in narratives of exile, immigration, and dictatorship throughout the Americas. She teaches courses on and literary theory and Latino/a literature in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Her book, Américanas, Autocracy and Autobiographical Innovation: Overwriting the Dictator is forthcoming with Routledge Press. She is currently at work on a monograph about academic career narratives as a genre capable of social justice-centered forms of intellectual fellowship in and activism in the academy. This work is tentatively titled Life’s Work: Career Narrative as Institutional Autobiography.