Storytelling for Social Justice: Connecting Narrative and the Arts in Antiracist Teaching, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Storytelling for Social Justice

Connecting Narrative and the Arts in Antiracist Teaching, 2nd Edition

By Lee Anne Bell


160 pages

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Paperback: 9781138292802
pub: 2019-09-09
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Through accessible language and candid discussions, Storytelling for Social Justice explores the stories we tell ourselves and each other about race and racism in our society. Making sense of the racial constructions expressed through the language and images we encounter every day, this book provides strategies for developing a more critical understanding of how racism operates culturally and institutionally in our society. Using the arts in general, and storytelling in particular, the book examines ways to teach and learn about race by creating counter-storytelling communities that can promote more critical and thoughtful dialogue about racism and the remedies necessary to dismantle it in our institutions and interactions. Illustrated throughout with examples drawn from contemporary movements for change, high school and college classrooms, and professional development, programs the book provides tools for examining racism as well as other issues of social justice. For every facilitator and educator who has struggled with how to get the conversation on race going or who has suffered through silences and antagonism, the innovative model presented in this book offers a practical and critical framework for thinking about and acting on stories about racism and other forms of injustice.

This new edition includes:

  • Coverage of social science examples, in addition to the arts, as connected to the storytelling model;
  • Short essays by users that illustrate some of the ways the storytelling model has been used in teaching, training, community building, and activism;
  • Updated examples, references, and resources.


Praise for the First Edition:

"Due to its accessibility and adaptability, Storytelling for Social Justice has the potential to alter educational practice and research. In their efforts to create equitable classrooms and curricula, pre-and in-service teachers may reflect upon Bell’s discussions of counter-stories to understand how stories uphold or challenge power relations in their lives and the lives of their students. Newcomers to CRT and social justice would applaud Bell’s ability to make the theories more accessible."

--Teachers College Record

"Storytelling for Social Justice is a gift to educators, activists, writers and those of us caught in the muck of a profoundly racist society that preaches color-blindness. A wise and experienced storyteller, Lee Anne Bell invites us to speak, write and act with courage, offering stories of hope and a pedagogy for justice."

--Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor of Social Psychology, Women’s Studies, and Urban Education, The Graduate Center, CUNY

"This important book provides a theoretical framework and a practical guide for unmasking contentious and uncomfortable discussions of race and class privilege. Using brilliant analysis of storytelling, Lee Anne Bell helps us understand the complex interactions of students’ ethnicity and culture and teachers’ beliefs and attitudes. This is a must read for teachers, teacher educators, and policy makers interested in equity and school reform."

--Jacqueline Jordan Irvine, Candler Professor Emerita, Emory University

Table of Contents

  1. Critical Teaching about Racism through Story and the Arts: Introducing the Storytelling Project Model
  2. Stock Stories: Reproducing Racism and White Advantage
  3. Essay #1: Lauren Anderson "Resisting stock stories and learning to teach courageously"

  4. Concealed Stories: Reclaiming Subjugated Memory and Knowledge
  5. Essay #2: Kayhan Irani "Unpacking history through place-based learning: Concealed stories of Asian American Resistance"

    Essay #3: Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz "Toward Love, Liberation and Abolishing the Single Story"

  6. Resistance Stories: Drawing on Antiracism Legacies and Contemporary Examples to Map the Future
  7. Essay#4: Susan Glisson "Community Storytelling for Racial Reconciliation: Telling the hard stories that can lead to change"

  8. Emerging/Transforming Stories: Challenging Racism in Everyday Life
  9. Essay #5: Vanessa D’Egidio "Reading the World in and Beyond the Classroom"

    Essay# 6: Maria Rivera Maulucci "Critical Literacy: Imagining Other Ways of Being"

  10. Cultivating a Counter-Storytelling Community: The Storytelling Model in Action

Essay #7: John Madura "The Classroom is N: A Structured Approach for Cultivating a Counter-Storytelling Community"

Essay #8: "Storytelling gives the school soul: Creating Counter-storytelling community"

About the Author

Lee Anne Bell is Professor Emerita and The Barbara Silver Horowitz Director of Education at Barnard College, Columbia University.

About the Series

Teaching/Learning Social Justice

The Teaching/Learning Social Justice Series explores issues of social justice—diversity, equality, democracy, and fairness—in classrooms and communities. "Teaching/learning" connotes the essential connections between theory and practice that books in this series seek to illuminate. Central are the stories and lived experiences of people who strive both to critically analyze and challenge oppressive relationships and institutions, and to imagine and create more just and inclusive alternatives.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Multicultural Education
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / General