The Power of Storytelling
For the Spring 2017 theme semester, Goucher College will explore the personal, the creative, and the academic dimensions of stories. Storytelling invites us to use our imaginations to bring meaning to our experiences or create entirely fictional experiences. Telling a story is a social act, an invitation for others to see the world from a different perspective. Through storytelling, we shape experiences, observations, and data into narrative, seeking to answer the big questions of existence or make sense of our everyday lives.
Stories have the power to connect us as human beings. They can promote self-discovery and healing, or allow voices that dwell on the margins to occupy the center. Stories can also be harmful, as when one story dominates and controls a historical narrative. Stories can confront, challenge, and disrupt, or delight and entertain.
Join us as we spend the semester creating, sharing, and hearing each other’s stories, including retelling, uncovering, and discovering various Goucher stories. Help us consider the role of storytelling as a foundational mode of human communication, across our curriculum and campus community. This semester will challenge, inspire, and empower.
Click the headings below for details.
As part of the storytelling semester, we are proud to present the following featured speakers. Tickets are $25 to see Garrison Keillor or Anna Deavere Smith; tickets for the Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Ann Hamilton, and Curtis Sittenfeld events can be reserved for free. Tickets can be purchased and/or reserved at www.goucher.edu/tickets or by calling 410-337-6333. Goucher students, staff, and faculty may attend all five of these events for free; tickets must be reserved in advance at www.goucher.edu/tickets.
Meyerhoff Visiting Professor Series
Monday, February 20, 2017
One of the most prolific American storytellers of all time, Garrison Keillor is a writer and humorist best known for his popular live radio variety show, A Prairie Home Companion, which attracts more than four million listeners on more than 600 public radio stations each week.
Keillor is also the host of the daily radio and online program, The Writers Almanac, and the editor of several anthologies of poetry, most recently, Good Poems: American Places. A bestselling author, he has published more than two dozen books, including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Pilgrims, Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny, and Homegrown Democrat. In 2006, Keillor played himself, alongside a cast that included Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, and Kevin Kline, in the critically acclaimed film adaptation of A Prairie Home Companion, directed by Robert Altman.
With Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, Keillor has also been honored with the National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Offering insight and stories from his journey as one of America’s greatest storytellers, Keillor captivates audiences with his unique blend of comedy, charisma, and wisdom.
Garrison Keillor will be speaking on campus as part of the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Visiting Professorship Series.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Playwright, actor, and professor Anna Deavere Smith uses her singular brand of theater to highlight issues of community, character, and diversity in America. The MacArthur Foundation honored Smith with the “Genius” Fellowship for creating “a new form of theatre—a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.” Best known for crafting one-woman shows based on conversations with real people from all walks of life, Smith turns her interviews into scripts, transforming herself into an astonishing number of characters.
At Goucher, Smith will perform her show, Doing Time in Education: The School-to-Prison Pipeline. Anna Deavere Smith created the Pipeline Project as a way to apply her signature form of documentary theater to investigate the school-to-prison pipeline—the cycle of suspension from school to incarceration that is prevalent among low-income Black, Brown, Latino, and Native-American youth. In the preliminary stages of developing the piece, she conducted interviews with hundreds of people who are involved in the pipeline at all levels: students, teachers, parents, police, thought and policy leaders, psychologists, community activists, and many more—including persons involved in the Goucher Prison Education Partnership.
Smith has performed in the theater, on TV, and in film. Her breakthrough plays, Fires in the Mirror and the Tony-nominated Twilight: Los Angeles, dramatized the LA Riots in the days that followed the Rodney King trial. 2009’s Let Me Down Easy, which aired on PBS’ Great Performances in 2012, examines healthcare and the resilience and vulnerability of the human body. In addition to appearing on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, Smith’s television credits include The West Wing, Black-ish, and Madame Secretary. She has appeared in films, including Rachel Getting Married, Philadelphia, and The American President.
In 1997, Smith founded Anna Deavere Smith Works at Harvard. She is a university professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and an affiliate with the NYU School of Law.
Anna Deavere Smith will be speaking on campus as part of the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Visiting Professorship Series.
Additional Featured Speakers
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Merrick Lecture Hall
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a 75-year-old Black transgender woman, has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. Miss Major’s personal story and activism for transgender civil rights, from mobile outreach and AIDS prevention to fighting the prison industrial complex, intersects LGBT struggles for justice and equality from the 1960s to today. She is a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion and was incarcerated at Attica months after the 1971 Uprising. Most recently, Miss Major has served as the executive director of the San Francisco-based Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), a grassroots organization advocating for trans women of color in and outside of prison that is led by trans women of color.
Miss Major’s extraordinary life and personal story is one of resilience and celebration in a community that has been historically traumatized and marginalized. While mainstream gay rights and marriage equality dominate the headlines, Miss Major’s life is a testament to the fierce survivalism and every day concerns of transgender women of color, who so often live in the margin of the already marginalized.
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy’s appearance is supported by the Lilian Welsh Lectureship Fund, the Dorothy Stimson Lectureship Fund, the Center for Geographies of Justice and Cultures; the Center for Race, Equity, and Identity; the Goucher Student Government Social Justice Committee; the Peace Studies program; the Provost’s Office, and the Title IX program.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Ann Hamilton is a visual artist internationally recognized for the sensory surrounds of her large-scale installations. Her multi-media environments are a collaboration between the architectural site of her installation, sound, our experience in space, and the inventiveness of the viewer/interlocutor. Her work invites viewers to imagine the histories and stories inherent in a location. Storytelling is embedded in the objects and the spaces she uses, as well as a result of the cumulative effect of her installations. Using time as process and material, her methods of making serve as an invocation of place, of collective voice, of communities past and of labor present. Often using sound, found objects, and the spoken and written word, as well as photography and video, her objects and environments invite the audience to embark on sensory and metaphorical explorations of time, language and memory.
She has described her work process as a “conversation.” She begins with a particular site, and engages in animated discussion with its’ constituent communities, all the while researching its socioeconomic, historical, cultural and commercial contexts. Language is often key to her choice of elements in her installations and to her overall process.
Hamilton is the recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award. Her major commissions include projects for The Guggenheim Museum, New York, Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan, and La Maison Rouge Foundation de Antoine Galbert, Paris, France.
Ann Hamilton will speak about her artistic process and the stories that her artwork tells. Hamilton is visiting Goucher as a part of the Center for Art & Media 2017 Unobskey Visiting Artist Series.
Monday, April 3, 2017
Curtis Sittenfeld attracted nationwide attention with her New York Times bestselling debut, Prep, an insightful and achingly funny coming-of-age story the Boston Globe called “as addictive as M&Ms, but also a tart and complex tale of social class, race, and gender politics.” It was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year (2005) by The New York Times. Her third novel, American Wife, based loosely on the life of First Lady Laura Bush, received stellar reviews and was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by Time, People, and Entertainment Weekly. Her fourth novel, Sisterland, brought to life the tale of twin sisters whose relationship and identities are shaken when one of them goes on television to predict a devastating earthquake. Her latest book, Eligible, is a modern retelling of the Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice.
Curtis engages audiences with her deep empathy, keen wisdom, and unerring talent for finding the extraordinary moments in our everyday lives. Her ability to connect with students, libraries, and community and literary groups make for insightful events with engaging discussions.
Curtis Sittenfeld is a graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In addition to the 1.6 million copies of her novels in print, her nonfiction has been published by The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Salon, Allure, and Glamour, and broadcast on public radio’s This American Life.
Curtis Sittenfeld’s appearance is supported by the Isabelle Kellogg Thomas Lectureship Fund, the Catherine Milligan McClane Lectureship Fund, the Kratz Center for Creative Writing, and the Goucher College Library.
Special Collections & Archives – Athenaeum 4th Floor
- “Thinking Outside the Book,” an exhibit of artists books curated by Chloe Vogt ’16
Siebert Center – Library 3rd Floor
- “First the words, then the pictures. Nancy Patz, storyteller.” The picture books of alumna Nancy Patz
- “Tell Me A Story …Folktales From Around The World”
Library 3rd floor main entrance and across the bridge
- “A Nursery for Militant Suffragists”: The History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement at Goucher College
Library Readers’ Readers’ Lounge 4th floor
- The Hair Project. With a grant from Goucher Social Justice Committee, students engaged in a project to celebrate natural Black hair, and contribute to the social conversation around the topic. The project team was: Victoria Awkward, Harmony Jackson, Nathaniel Magloire, and Meagan Mcintosh
- Collections of the winners of the 2016 Applestein-Sweren Prizes. Read their stories here.
See also the library Storytelling site.
A variety of initiatives (courses, programs, speakers, workshops, etc.) will take place throughout the semester. These initiatives will promote the following types of activity:
- Learning to gather stories.
- Learning to craft stories.
- Listening to one another’s stories.
- Hearing master storytellers.
- Community reflection on stories.
Consider signing up for one of the spring 2017 Storytelling-Themed Academic Courses:
|ANT 280||Special Topics in Anthropology: Ethnography and Storytelling (Turner)|
|ARH 249||The History and Methods of Art History (Oettinger)|
|ARH 382||Envisioning Apocalypse: Narrating the Shape of Things to Come (Husch)|
|ART 203/COM 203||Intermediate Photography (Burns)|
|COM 225||Media & the Environment (Kimball)|
|COM 245||Film Theory and History II (San Filippo)|
|COM 325/WS 325||Women and Film (San Filippo)|
|COM 360||Advanced Video Production (Marcus)|
|DAN 395||The Politics of Performance (Shaheed)|
|ENG 114||Mystery and Detective Fiction (Marchand, 7 weeks)|
|ENG 202/WRT 202||Short Story Writing (Poliakoff-Chen)|
|ENG 212||Humans, Nature, and Human Nature in British Poetry (Wells)|
|ENG 265||The English Novel, from Austen to Woolf (Wells)|
|ENG 305||Writing Workshop: Poetry (Spires)|
|ENG 306||Writing Workshop: Fiction (Bell)|
|ENG 315||Advanced Seminar in Creative Writing: Fiction (Flann)|
|ENG 340||Special Topics in English Literature Since 1700: Middlemarch (Wells)|
|FR 272 Y||French Theater ICA (Ingram/Free)|
|GER 240||Intro to German Literature: Graphic Novels (Krüger)|
|GER 260/HIS 229/JS 245||History, Literature and Film on the Holocaust (Larkey)|
|HIS 189||Mariners, Renegades, and Castaways (Dator)|
|HIS 216||Europe, Classical to 1789 (Corcoran)|
|HP 270||Life and Labor at Epsom Farm (Sheller)|
|HIS 242/ENG 242||From Puritan Diaries to Oprah’s Book Club: Readers and Writers in American History (Hale)|
|HIS 289||Women, Gender, and Empire (Schields)|
|JS 312/GER 312/PHIL 312||Ethics after Auschwitz (Shuster)|
|MA 141||Statistical Data Analysis with Environmental Issues in View (Le)|
|PHL 218||Philosophy of Time (Rose)|
|PHL 220||Phenomenology (Rose)|
|PSC 249||Tragedy and Political Theory (Denman)|
|PCE 335||Future Cities: Speculations, Countermappings, and Narratives of Possibility (Hopper)|
|PSY 227||Psychology of Women (Grayman)|
|PSY 235||Cognitive Psychology (McCabe)|
|RUS 396||20th Century Masterpieces of Russian Literature (Samilenko)|
|SP 340||Social Criticism Through Written and Visual Texts (Moreno-Lopez)|
|SPE 100||Special Education: Historical, Philosophical, and Legal Foundations (Adkins)|
|THE 218||Theatre for Social Change (Curry)|
|THE 391||Senior Project Workshop Production “The Secret in the Wings” (Campbell)|
|WRT 107||Creative Screenwriting (U’Ren)|
|WRT 203||Features Writing for Newspapers and Magazines (Rodricks)|
|WRT 281||The Rhetoric of Islamophobia (Oweidat)|
Writing Studies II: Comics, Composition & Creativity
|WRT 281.002||Writing Studies II: Writing Harry Potter (Sterling)|
|WS 300.001||Tellin’ Stories: Black Sexualities as Transgressive Performing Art (Mel Lewis)|