Fishing for difference: A case study of singularity and sensibility in critical literary life writing

Authors

  • Claire Elizabeth Robson Simon Fraser University
  • Dennis Sumara University of Calgary

Keywords:

writing, identity, critical, memoir, narrative

Abstract

This paper draws upon a two-year study that examined how critical literary life writing helped a group of lesbian seniors negotiate identity. As we consider the notions of difference and singularity, building upon the earlier work of one of the authors, we analyze the work of one participant - an ex nun whose life’s work has made her remarkable in the eyes of the world. However, as oral historians (Portelli, 1981; Thompson, 2009) have found, epic stories of celebration and achievement can serve to limit the scope of life narratives. This can hold especially true for marginalized individuals (Boyd, 2008). We suggest that in this instance, structured practices of close writing opened up our participant’s narrative to lyric possibility, rather than the “grammars of consequence” (Zwicky, 2006).

Author Biographies

Claire Elizabeth Robson, Simon Fraser University

Claire Robson is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University. She is also writer-in-residence for Quirk-e - the queer imaging & riting kollective for elders

Dennis Sumara, University of Calgary

Dennis Sumara is Dean of Education at the University of Calgary.

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Published

08-08-2013

How to Cite

Robson, C. E., & Sumara, D. (2013). Fishing for difference: A case study of singularity and sensibility in critical literary life writing. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 11(1), 23–40. Retrieved from https://jcacs.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/jcacs/article/view/36551

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Section

Articles