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House of mirrors : performing autobiograph(icall)y in language/education

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Title: House of mirrors : performing autobiograph(icall)y in language/education
Author: Norman, Renee
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Language and Literacy Education
Copyright Date: 1999
Abstract: This dissertation, a textual House of Mirrors, examines autobiography in/as re-search through performance and reflection. Utilizing the leitmotif of the mirror, I invite readers through entranceways, passages and spaces that optically reflect and refract the writer, the reader, the text. My autobiographical writing herein is an artistic performance, enacted as I simultaneously speculate (about) autobiograph(icall)y. This autobiographical performance is presented through poetry, personal essays and stories, theoropoetic ruminations on the literature and theory and journal entries that record the journey. In this dissertation, I ask: How can we consider autobiography in/as re-search? How does women's writing contribute to autobiography in/as re-search? Mirroring these questions, I consider the themes of writing, mothering, teaching, by examining my self/selves as writer, m(other), teacher, scholar, Jew, in the context of many textual and living others. However, this work is more than a self-examination. This House of Mirrors is peopled with many women's lives and words, a deliberate gesture to bring others to my life and work: Doris Lessing, Hannah Arendt, Jill Ker Conway.... I also explore some of the vast and rich theoretical writing on autobiography, such as the work of Leigh Gilmore and Janet Varner Gunn, inter-textually interspersing this theory among the mirrors of my own and other women's autobiographical writing, so that the text works reflexively and disruptively in the manner of Andre Gide's mise-en-abyme, the mirror-within-a-mirror-within-a-mirror. In an effort to apply the re-search to schools, I demonstrate how some specific strategies for autobiography in education might be employed in the classroom. This interdisciplinary approach draws upon the zones of feminist thought, post-structuralism, literary criticism, language education and the hermeneutics of interpretive inquiry. Autobiographical writing as a re-search method assists us in making sense of experience and memory, life and text, self and others. Writing and thinking of our place in the world is a necessary and vital process, part of living in, and in Hannah Arendt's terms, loving, the world.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/11984
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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