Racial Dimensions of Life Writing in Education

Edited by:
Lucy E. Bailey, Oklahoma State University
KaaVonia Hinton, Old Dominion University

A volume in the series: Research in Life Writing and Education. Editor(s): Lucy E. Bailey, Oklahoma State University. KaaVonia Hinton, Old Dominion University.

Published 2022

This collection presents life writing projects that explore or represent the racial dimensions of life writing research in diverse educational spaces using diverse methodologies and inquiry approaches. We believe this collection is long overdue. To quote Melva R. Grant and Signe E. Kastberg’s succinct phrasing (this volume) “racialized inquiry matters.” While some rich texts explore the racial aspects and anti-racist potential of social science research (Blee, 2018; Lopez & Parker, 2003; Sefa Dei & Johal, 2005; Twine & Warren, 2000), and include examples from educational contexts, there are no collections which focus on the intersections of life writing inquiry as educative projects that highlight racial dimensions of the work and lives under study. Drawing from Toni Morrison’s enduring wisdom, a visionary writer whose work has explored the racial dimensions of culture and lived experience, we centralize race in life writing in this collection rather than obscuring it or leaving it as a lurking, absent presence in the craft.

Racial Dimensions of Life Writing Research offers a wealth of ideas and perspectives from which scholars, teachers, and students can draw to support their work. The 14 chapters in this collection attend to national, international, and local concerns, include varied theoretical and methodological approaches, and reflect a range of ethnic and racial heritages. Chapters consider practical, theoretical, ethical, and educational issues involved in projects concerning under-represented educational actors important for the terrain of life writing. The authors include established and emerging scholars— university researchers, directors, and professors, academic advisors, graduate and undergraduate students, activists, and former elementary and secondary school teachers. It is our hope that this volume will spark conversation, debate, and reflection and will be a valuable resource that inspires scholarship about how race and its intersections shape the life-writing inquiry process.

"This is an exceptionally important volume interrogating intersections of race, racism and life writing. Authors recenter life narrative as a necessary anchor for studying, teaching about, and learning through complex racial dynamics. This book should be read by any of us serious about studying and advancing knowledge on race and writing." — Richard Milner, Vanderbilt University

Introduction—Writing Lives and Writing Race: An Introduction to Racial Dimensions of Life Writing in Education, Lucy E. Bailey and KaaVonia Hinton. Acknowledgments. Living With the Monsters and Ghosts: Theorizing Race Through Unresolved Writing, Ezekiel Joubert III and Oona Fontanella-Nothom. Learning the Art of Living Through Our Racialized Lives: Life Writing With Objects to Assert and Reclaim Care of the Self, Daisy Pillay and Betty Govinden. Thinking Through the Critics: Strategies of Filiation, Affiliation, and Disaffiliation in Postcolonial Life Writing, Mrinalini Greedharry. Testimonio and Racial Truth-Telling: Collaborative Inquiry on Latinx Identities, Lilly B. Padía, María Paula Ghiso, Pamela D’Andrea Martínez, and Ashantie Diaz Johnson. Excavating the Methodological Terrains of Life Writing: How and Why We Engage in Re-Memberings of Black and Chicana/Latina Lived Experiences, Crystal Shelby-Caffey, Paty Abril-Gonzalez, and Michelle Salazar Pérez. Grandma’s Inheritance: Stories of Rupture, Resilience, and Reconciliation, Paulette T. Cross. The Transformative Power of Transparent Racialized Inquiry Within Critical Friendships, Melva R. Grant and Signe E. Kastberg. Whiteness Writhing: Winces and Worries in Life Writing, Audrey Aamodt. My Maryland: Race and Racism in Post-Brown Southern Maryland, Bridget Rebek. An Epidemic Choice: A Black Family’s Misgivings in the Age of COVID-19, Erica K. Brown. The Craft of Educational Biography: Writing the Life of Civil Rights Teacher Activist Clara Luper, Autumn Brown. “Their Generation Has a Voice That Can Effect Change”: Challenges Interviewing and Constructing a Vignette of a Middle School Language Arts Teacher, KaaVonia Hinton. Family Memory Work: Reframing Narrative Inheritances Toward Racial Justice, Lucy E. Bailey. Writing for Our Lives: A Love Letter to Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color(s), Reanae McNeal. About the Contributors.