DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

This narrative assignment asks you to interrogate your own positionality as you tell stories about your experiences and beliefs. You are trying, as much as possible, to SHOW your stories (without too much of those Hallmark-commercial-unreal-happy-endings). You have five topics.  Choose ONE only. As you will see below, you are only receiving a one-paragraph overview of each of these five topics in order to leave as much space and creative flexibility as possible. If some of these topics sound similar, that is okay. It simply means that you have overlapping experiences. 

PLEASE NOTE: This is not just a story that has to sound good on paper.  It will  be READ ALOUD. Make sure that you practice reading this piece aloud. When you read aloud, practice your pausing.   Practice changing the speed of your reading.  What will you emphasize? How will your voice alone carry emphasis?   Your narrative must be 600-700 words (NO shorter and NO longer)!  Remember, you will also be adding images and sounds to this narrative! 

The five choices that you have for your narrative come from the ideas about “cultural capital” that Tara Yosso, a critical race theorist, outlines. In this work, Yosso argues that we need to see and trace "cultural capital" beyond social privileges afforded by wealth, race, class, heterosexuality, or ableism.  


For this assignment, you are tracing your own cultural capital using digital storytelling as our final, digital project of the semester.  Choose one of the five options below.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Choice I

Aspirational Capital

This kind of “capital” is about your ability to maintain a hope and vision for a brighter future despite what may be impossible odds. In African American Language, we call this “makin a way outta no way.” If you choose this kind of narrative, show us how and why you/your kinfolk have overcome an adversity in your life. How did you make a way outta no way? What did you do to get here today and why? Remember, you are not constructing another western hero epic. You are going against that in order to show that the very cultural system or group to which you see yourself as belonging gave you the tools to move forward.


Choice II

Linguistic Capital

This kind of “capital” is about the intellectual and social skills that you have when you maneuver in more than one language, in more than one style, in more than one culture’s/community’s language codes. If you choose this kind of narrative, re-visit and creatively explore your own language autobiography.  Take us back to a time when you realized differences regarding language (positive or negative) and how that affected you. What did you do and why? What do you think of this today? How do you think that impacted you? Or, what do you do, linguistically, in different situations and why? Describe some of these situations--- actually language them out on the page--- do not just use English or a standardized English, for that matter. Use all the languages and Englishes that you know and live in.  


Choice III

Familial Capital

This kind of “capital” is about the systems of knowledge that your family and extended family have provided in your life by instilling their memories and cultural values. Langston Hughes captured this in his very popular poem where a mother repeatedly tells her son: “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” The idea is that the stories, (repeated) warnings, expectations, or legacies handed down through your family members shape who you are and how you respond to situations outside. If you choose this kind of narrative, tell us about a story, tradition, saying, belief system, etc. of your own family that falls outside of what the dominant or mainstream culture values. How has this influenced you? Did this ever cause conflict with peers, teachers, administrators, institutions, etc.? If so, what did you do about it? What do you think of this today? How do you think that has impacted you?


Choice IV

Social Capital

This kind of “capital” is about the community resources (church, after-school program, project, cultural organization, peer group, etc.) that have helped you to become who you are. If you choose this kind of a narrative, tell us about a community, civic, religious, peer, etc. affiliation that has played an important role in your own life that falls outside of what the dominant or mainstream culture values. Take us inside of this resource so that we can see, feel, and hear who you are there. How have these connections in your life have impacted you?  


Choice V

Navigational Capital/
Resistant Capital

These kinds of “capital” are about those things that you believe have helped you and others to confront oppression and provide unique social skills, psychological resilience, and cultural values. Think about people like Bob Marley who famously stressed: “Rastaman, live up!” even when it was not accepted. If you choose this kind of narrative, tell us about 1 or 2 texts and/or events (book, song, artist, artpiece, style, experiences, etc.) that you feel have taught you how one expresses (cultural) resistance to oppression and/or the status quo. How does this impact you? Why are you connected to this? Why are you drawn to this? How have these connections impacted you? For a good example of a current conversation happening in 2015 that addresses navigational/resistant capital, based on a high school students' video project (Amandla Stenberg from the Hunger Games), click here (you will see a short article and an embedded video). 

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.