Monday, October 09, 2006

Discussing Memoir and Rape

An agenda for discussing Charlotte Pierce-Baker's Surviving the Silence: Black Women's Stories of Rape
(designed for students in a classroom setting)

1. "the elephant in the room"- a freewriting exercise designed to
enable students to be present in the class discussion. instruct everyone to write for two minutes about whatever is in their mind as they get ready to discuss)

2. introductions-facilitators, instructors and guest introduce each other

3. directed writing assignment- the students
write about the dynamic of silence as it appears in the second section of Surviving the Silence

4. class discussion (during which students may voluntarily share some
of their writing aloud) in which we discuss the specific approach to
memior represented here and the politics of the structural choices

5. ask students to respond to the text and our discussion as
"experts" from the perspective of their disciplinary majors (i.e. what
does this text offer to psychology, how would a cultural
anthropologist respond to these interview methods, how does this text
relate to/revise literary generic definitions of "memior")

6. ask students (though this may have come up by now) to think
about this text particularly through the (inextricable) lens of race
and class

7. discuss different contexts in which this text could be useful and the
politics of publishing as they relate to this text and this topic

8. class discussion of the function of gender in the text and the relationship between trauma, violence and silence.
9. assign students a two-page response (that may
or may not expand on their in-class writing assingment or their
disciplinary critiques)
Class dismissed!


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