Personal History as Way of Knowing

June 15, 2017

The telling of personal histories and the sharing of anecdotes offer glimpses into the ways of knowing that guide inquiry, analysis, and reflection. Ashon Crawley, Mike Young, and Vanessa Andreotti share their personal stories as a way to access others’ experiences of the world. ArtsEverywhere values writing that bridges ways of knowing, enabling empathic engagement where academic pursuit can’t do it alone. Ashon Crawley finds his way through the 2016 award-winning film Moonlight by drawing parallels with the three names that shaped his life as a queer, Black man: Berry Berry, Cookie, and Ashon. His memories of childhood and adolescence, set side by side with those of Chiron, Kevin, and Paula in Moonlight bring him to conclude that “everyone is complex even in their simple narration.” Mike Young’s review of The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Generation (2013) by Sarah Schulman traces his own queer musings alongside Schulman’s reflections on Gay Liberation and the AIDS epidemic: “I feel a perennial darkness; a nagging chip-off-my-shoulder that’s queer but hard to quantify. I feel angry and sad and lost a lot more than most of my straight friends do….Queer subjectivity still seems framed by straight, capitalist ideals.” Vanessa Andreotti begins her essay by describing the inter-weaving of bloodlines that shape who she is. And then she says, “I would like to offer a story that speaks to the crossroads and the in-betweens.” The story she tells offers a lesson from one of earth’s smallest creatures—a hummingbird.

Fictioning Names

Ashon Crawley, Charlottesville, United States 

Berry Berry. Sometimes fictions function to produce memory. And the genius and beauty of Barry Jenkins’s 2016 film Moonlight is not in its being presumably a universal story to which we all can relate. It is in this: that attention to...

In the Shadow of an Epidemic

Mike Young, Toronto, Canada 

A review of Sarah Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Generation I came out to my friends as an impulsive, drain-chain-wearing sixteen-year-old. I knew little about the Gay Liberation movement or the queer community. Instead, I met...

Torpor and Awakening

Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti, Vancouver, Canada 

This text is an adapted transcript of a keynote presented at the Indigenous Scholars Conference: Indigenous Epistemologies: Re-Visioning Reconciliation on 26 March 2015, at the University of Alberta. It has been accepted for publication in the Canadian Journal of Native...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.