WR 122 - Counterstory. Spring2023: Home
The Counterstory project
This class begins with an understanding the harm of stock stories, and with identifying the many stock stories you may be pushing up against in your day to day life.
Find Stock Stories
In class, we worked on understanding the harm of stock stories and identifying the many stock stories you may be pushing up against in your day to day life.
Establishing a Stock Story assignment. For this assignment, you will identify a stock story that marginalizes a group of people, or leaves out the experiences of some person or group of people we care about. Write an overview of that stock story and write a personal response and reflection to the stock story.
For example, the social location map
What are the stock stories that operate in U.S. society?
How do we learn these stories?
Where are the imbalances of power in the stock stories?
Who benefits from the stock stories? Who pays?
How do these stories function to maintain the status quo and prevent change?
Finding Stock stories
The challenge is that you are looking for stories that leave out the group of people who you care about, so you won’t be able to do a keyword search for that group of people. Maybe search for the contexts in which your people often aren’t represented or included.
Search terms and keywords
Use the Research Warmup to generate ideas. Look back over what you wrote to identify main ideas, key concepts and words to use in a search. Identify keywords that can help you to locate stories related to:
Historical / Social / Locational Context – list words associated with the context you’re interested in
The story – list words associated with the story you’re interested in finding
Experience or Identity – list words associated with the aspect of the experience the stock story
Places to look for Stock Stories
Use Google to find examples, such as political speeches, campaign rhetoric, films, or advertising of all kinds.
Search by politician's name, campaign slogans, issues
Search by consumer items like handbags or skateboards, or a consumer group like Porche owners, or camper vans
Search by describing the kinds of examples you what to find, such as gender stereotypes in advertising
Stock Story: cowboy
A 1958 movie staring Glenn Ford and Jack Lemmon. "An idealistic tenderfoot Chicago hotel clerk is taken on a cattle-drive to Mexico by famous trail boss tom Reece but discovers that cowboy life isn't what he expected."
Find Concealed Stories
Now that you have researched and written about a specific stock story, it is time to turn your attention to the stories that challenge the myth. For this assignment, you will find both Concealed Stories and Stories of Resistance to help you create your own counterstory.
10 sources; 7 sources with Concealed Stories and 3 sources with Stories of Resistance
Finding Concealed Stories
Concealed stories are those told by people on the margins about the realities of their lives, their values and their struggles.
Use Google to locate real life experiences of individuals and groups. For example:
Search for statistics or studies. Try government websites (site:gov) or a repository such as the Pew Research Center to look for trends.
Search for historical evidence. Try educational websites (site:edu) to access digital archives. [example: black cowboys site:edu archives]
Use the search box on the Library homepage to find a biography, autobiography or documentary:
Search for the name of someone you want to learn about or hear their story (Nat Love, a black cowboy)
Search on the community you are wanting to hear from or learn more about (for example, Black cowboys or LGBTQ parents)
Concealed Story: cowboy
Find Stories of Resistance
Stories of Resistance
Stories of resistance can be found in works of art (poetry, song lyrics, fiction, visual art, film, speeches, etc) that exemplify challenges to the status quo and provide inspiration and ideas for what justice can look like.
Finding Stories of Resistance
Story of resistance: Lil Nas X
Creating a Counterstory
Examples of Counterstories
Check in with your instructor about writing your counterstory. Here are some examples.