Critical Storytelling in Millennial Times

Undergraduates Share Their Stories of Struggle


Critical stories are more than just anecdotes or tales. They are narratives that raconter, or recount, the author’s own experiences, situating them in broader cultural contexts. Just as the autoethnographer situates the self in relation to the “others” of which the self is both a part and from which it is distinct, the critical storyteller situates his or her story of conflict in relation to the broader reality from which the conflict arises. The key is the reality that is being related and the perspective from which it is being shared.

In Critical Storytelling in Millennial Times, marginalized, excluded, and oppressed people share insights from their liminality and help readers learn from their perspectives and experiences. Examples of stories in this volume range from undergraduate perspectives on financial aid for college students, to narratives on first-hand police brutality, to heartbreaking tales about addiction, bullying, and the child sex trade in Cambodia. Undergraduate authors relate their stories and pose important questions to the reader about inciting change for the future. Follow along in their journeys and learn what you can do to make a change in your own reality.

Contributors are: Ben Brawner, Dwight Brown, Bryce Cherry, Kaytlin Jacoby, Jimmy Kruse, Dean Larrick, Bric Martin, Kara Niles, Claire Parrish, Grace Piper, Claire Prendergast, Alexsenia Ralat, Alec Reyes, Stephanie Simon, S. H. Suits, Katy Swift, Morgan Vogels, and Brittany Walsh.

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Carmella J. Braniger, Ph.D. (2003), Oklahoma State University, is Associate Professor of English at Millikin University. She has published poems and critical stories, including a story in Critical Storytelling in Uncritical Times (Sense, 2017), for which she served as editor.

Kaytlin M. Jacoby has published poetry and academic writing in the literary journal Collage at Millikin University, where she is a senior undergraduate writing major. She edits for Rhetoric Review, as well as BURST, a Millikin magazine.
"For students to have a say in the world in which they live is a necessity. They give voice to specific challenges and hopes imposed or otherwise overlooked by those to whom we (too often uncritically) depend upon to narrate the world on our behalf. Future generations will look to stories of the past to help make sense of the world they’ve inherited. The contributors to Critical Storytelling in Millennial Times offer some critical insights to such a project that will be invaluable in the work of describing our "now" then. These undergraduates – by sharing their stories of struggle with identity, university demands, and how to cope – expertly take up the incredibly important work of telling their own rather than waiting for their stories to be told and, in the process, making history ...." – A. D. Carson, Assistant Professor of Hip Hop and the Global South, University of Virginia