From Black Women’s Lives Matter to the Solidarity Economy as Social Innovation: Graduating Student Presentations

The August residency for the Goddard Graduate Institute featured a rich expanse of workshops from our graduating students. Congratulations to them all, and here’s what they presented:

Robin after graduation with her family.

Robin after graduation with her family.

Black Women’s Lives Matter: A Narrative, Womanist Approach to Self-Care, with HAS graduating student Robin D. Stone. Part consciousness-raising, part confessional, my study uses narrative techniques to help Black women embrace self-care through engaging with the stories of their bodies. It is anchored by and expands womanist and Black feminist theories by elevating Black women’s experiences and perspectives and by linking their health with the ability to effect social change. My study’s centerpiece is a video series of deeply reflective interviews with 17 Black women (including myself) revealing evocative experiences tied to family, identity, sexuality, and belonging that influence body consciousness, eating, exercise and response to stressors. I will screen the video and briefly discuss producing the work and some of the disciplines from which it draws. I intend to use the video and a companion writing workshop to create a space for Black women – storytellers and story witnesses alike – to consider their health in the context of the curves they love, the foods and traditions at the heart of their families, the stressors they face, and changes they can make toward individual and collective healing.

Casualties of Civilization: Indian Removal and the Construction of Moder1262933_567102583351738_1677540989_on American Identity, with IMA graduating student David White. Why do we believe the things about ourselves and Others to be true? What does it mean to be an American and how do our various understandings of American history shape the ways that we perceive ourselves in relation to Others? This presentation analyzes a number of the racial and gender constructions that emerged during the 19th century as white Americans navigated unprecedented social and cultural upheaval. By exploring the ways in which white Americans portrayed Native peoples and appropriated “Indianness” throughout the century, this work aims to provide insight into one of the ways that the American identity was established and has been upheld well into the present day.

Leading the graduates to Commencement, Susan Sakash on trompone followed by Kate Miller (left) and Karen Faraca (right).

Leading the graduates to Commencement, Susan Sakash on trompone followed by Kate Miller (left) and Karen Faraca (right).

Embodied Addiction Recovery: Intuitive Recovery of the Sacred Authentic Self, with HAS graduating student Karen Faraca. Addiction is a common experience today. Chances are that we all know someone who has been affected by addiction to alcohol, opiates or other drugs, food binging or restricting, shopping, relationships, etc. Predominate cultural perspectives pathologize addiction as a physical, cognitive, spiritual or moral disease, which has led to a general societal disdain towards addicts and addiction recovery. What if addiction was perceived as a state of healing? What if addiction was merely the manifestation of authentic needs being satisfied by inauthentic means; misguided efforts driven by our innate drive to sustain a balance within the dynamic creative tension of body, mind, spirit and the sacred earth? Embodied Addiction Recovery is an independent journey, one of self-exploration (self-Recovery) through perceptions of the sentient body and innate wisdom arising from the sacred reciprocal nature of all living beings, which I understand as intuition. My personal journey is offered in testament to the power of Embodied Addiction Recovery, the reintegration of felt experiences to intuitively reclaim the sacred authentic self.

Healthy Schools: An Insider’s View about the Reality of the Systemic Failings of our Current System, with HAS graduating student Lorie Grant. This presentation is to educate stakeholders on the challenges that exist within the current school structure that make it difficult to make positive healthy sustainable changes that are needed to help improve the health of our future generation.

Incarnate Words: Writing from the Body, with IMA graduating student Kate Lidfors Miller. My presentation is an informal talk about how I came to this project and my investigations into embodiment studies as a path to writing from a place of deep connection with one’s body and the natural world.  I’ll offer my thoughts on what “embodied writing” is and why it can be transformative.  I will provide a few examples of “incarnate words” by other writers and read some selections from my own work.  I look forward to questions and discussion, and if time permits, I’ll lead a brief writing exercise for those who’d like to join in.

The Solidarity Economy as Social Innovation, with SBC graduating student Susan Sakash. This presentation will unpack heady concepts like “the solidarity economy framework” and “economic democracy” by grounding them in our individual/collective vision of what a more just and ethical economy looks and feels like. With research based largely in New Orleans, I locate examples of the solidarity economy occurring within the city’s local food system, and how these reflect what I call community-envisioned and enacted social innovation in action. My hope is to start a conversation about how to strengthen, and what stands in the way of, the efforts of activists, social innovators, and community economic developers who are working to build true community wealth.

At graduation

At graduation

Timeblind, with IMA graduating student Linda Clow Lawton. What I learned about procrastination, self esteem and shamanic healing while trying my best to “trust the process”.  Calling upon the work of Antonio Damasio, Charles Kahneman, Tim Wilson and Russell Barkley to validate a novel approach to educational therapy for adults with ADHD, the composition of my thesis gave me an opportunity to do action research on my own methodology.  I’ll share some techniques that worked and some discoveries that allowed me to claim the authority of my intellect (quoting F.X. Charet) at last.

This entry was posted in African-American Studies, Consciousness Studies/Transpersonal Psychology, Creative Writing, Deep Ecology & Bioregionalism, Economics, Embodiment Studies & Body Image, Environmental, Sustainability & Place Studies, Feminism, Women's & Gender Studies, Health Arts and Sciences, History & Political Science, Multiculturalism & Diversity Studies, Nutrition, Transformative Language Arts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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