UBC Theses and Dissertations
Narrative, literacy and the quest for self: Tango through the dark Dunlop, Rishma
This research explores the development of a manuscript of poetry (a creative text within text) titled Tango Through the Dark, considering lived experiences through qualitative, autobiographical methodology. The manuscript’s autobiographical approach is based on the conviction that the understanding of self is a precondition of and essential to the understanding of others. Therefore, the process of education lies not in the observer, but in the articulation of lived experience. As teacher and writer, the process of divestment or self-reflection allows an enrichment of experience in the reconstruction of the writer’s world. It is my conviction that pedagogical endeavours, in particular the teaching of literature and the quest for literacy, need to be grounded in the personal as a starting point in the reconstructing process that is essential between students, teachers and written texts. The discourses in this text, post-modern in their play with traditional scholarly writing, are informed by and interwoven with imaginative writings of authors in the fields of literature, curriculum and literary theory, post-structuralism, phenomenology, existentialism, and feminist thought. The narrative constructions become modes of writing that challenge established classifications and separations of disciplines and discourses, enhancing the understanding of the texture of lived experience. Texts create meaning in the world, not fixed meaning but new meanings, responding to Barthes’ challenge: “étonne-moi.” The interconnection of texts becomes a passage to the teaching self as the particularities of writing, teaching, and knowing the self, and the tensions between public and private persona are explored. In my writing and in my considerations of texts, I am inspired by Barthes’ comparisons of “teaching to play, reading to eros, writing to seduction” (quoted in Sontag, 1982, pp. xvi - xvii). The quest is to discover scholarship that exemplifies difference, emerging from “an ethos of eros and empathy” (Christ, 1987, p.58).
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