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Narratives of Identity & Relationship

“Who am I, and why am I like this?” In Narratives of Identity & Relationship we will explore these two questions in depth, using the framework of story to guide our exploration. Stories are central to establishing our sense of identity, shaping our relational choices, and defining ourselves within a complex and changing world. All around us we hear others telling their stories of gender and sexuality, friendship and family, faith and doubt, race and ethnicity, desire and satisfaction—and over time we come to understand ourselves in and through what we hear. As we interact with others we catch reflections of our own story, glimpsing ways others define us, and drawing what we see into the stories we’re always writing about ourselves, whether we know it or not. 

Outside the classroom, we will explore the stories of others through interview research, seeing plays and movies, and establishing relationships in the Richmond community. We will get to know who we are together through meals and explorations of the Richmond area, odd YouTube or Vimeo videos spontaneously assigned for discussion, and the occasional trip to Sweet Frog or Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe.

Fast Facts

Scott Johnson, Ph.D.

Fall Course:
FYS 100: Narratives of Identity and Relationship
Tuesday/Thursday, 1:30–2:45 p.m.

Number of students: 16

Residence Hall:
Wood Hall (co-ed community)

Sample Course Readings

Roland Barthes, Mythologies

Kenneth Burke, Definition of Man

Jon Franklin, Writing for Story

Kenneth Gergen, The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary life

Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

Shirley Jackson, The Lottery

Dan P. McAdams, The Psychology of Life Stories

Anzia Yezierska, Hungry Hearts & Other Stories