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

Renee Norman
1999
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
more » ... nd 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 me [...]
doi:10.14288/1.0078146 fatcat:gv7hrv7quvgazfzldtinf6cf24