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Anthropology Workshop to Focus on Storytelling April 25 at UW

April 17, 2019

“The Work of Storytelling: Theory, Practice, Play, Persuasion” is the focus of a Department of Anthropology workshop Thursday, April 25, at the University of Wyoming.

The event, free and open to the public (registration is requested), will begin with a light lunch at 12:45 p.m. in the American Heritage Center Stock Growers Room. The workshop is made possible through a Wyoming Humanities grant.

Audience members will respond to each scheduled talk in small groups and bring key questions for the speaker back to the whole group, says Sarah Strauss, UW anthropology professor.

“This kind of interactive seminar format helps bring audience members into engagement together, instead of relying on the typical one-on-one questions and linearity of a standard symposium format,” she says.

Strauss will give opening remarks at 1:20 p.m. and then will lead a panel discussion with the presenters following the presentations.

Speakers are:

-- 1:30-1:50 p.m.: Carole McGranahan, University of Colorado anthropology professor, will discuss theoretical storytelling. She will discuss if ethnography is a form of theoretical storytelling.

“In both the classroom and in our writing, anthropologists and other scholars use stories to make theoretical points,” McGranahan says. “However, stories do not just illustrate theory. Instead, stories can constitute and generate theory. This shift in our practice opens new possibilities for thinking about the world, especially perhaps in this current political moment.”

-- 2:05-2:25 p.m.: Kaatie Cooper, UW communication and journalism assistant professor, will discuss documentaries. She will talk about how documentaries persuade and what makes them different from other types of stories.

“I offer practical advice to fiction and nonfiction storytellers about how to use narratives effectively to promote healthy behavior, to alter public opinion and to increase citizen engagement about the environment,” Cooper says.

-- 2:40-3 p.m.: Paul Taylor, director of the Yubulyawan Dreaming Project and UW Honors College lecturer, will discuss a variety of topics surrounding Aboriginal creation.

“I will present Aboriginal creation story pieces and insights with songs and rock art,” Taylor says.

He will draw on the dreaming concept; the caring, beauty and sophistication of the Aboriginal connection to all the living world; and give insight on how the creation story informs their cosmic worldview.

-- 3:30-3:50 p.m.: Alyson Hagy, UW Creative Writing Program professor, will discuss writing and revising a piece of fiction.

“I will talk about how I did research and incorporated interviews and current events into the stories collected in ‘Ghosts of Wyoming,’” Hagy says.

-- 4:05-4:25 p.m., Paul Stoller, West Chester University anthropology professor, will discuss the narrative, connection and social power of stories.  He also is of the keynote speaker of the Department of Anthropology’s 23rd annual Mulloy Lecture, at 4:10 p.m. Friday, April 26, in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources auditorium.

“I will recount several narratives to demonstrate how stories can become the force for social solidarity, profound change and boundless creativity,” Stoller says. “I hope to show, rather than tell, how stories define our common humanity.”

A light lunch and dessert will be provided; because there is limited space, participants are urged to register with Strauss by email at no later than Wednesday, April 24.



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