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The Storytelling Project Model: A Theoretical Framework for Critical Examination of Racism Through the Arts


by Lee Anne Bell & Rosemarie A. Roberts 2010

Background/Context: Research in Europe and the United States shows that racial position shapes and gives voice to the stories people tell about race and racism, and filters how such stories are perceived and understood by listeners. Although not uniformly the case, people from the majority White racial group tend to emphasize forward progress and the declining significance of race. Minoritized people of color more often note the enduring impact of racism as a barrier to racial progress.

Purpose: This article describes the evolution of a theoretical model for teaching critically about racism and racial stories utilizing the arts. We reflect on the collaborative theory-building process used to develop the model, our use of the arts to create spaces of learning where racial stories can be unsettled and reexamined, and the potential of this model to guide educational projects in which participants construct alternative stories geared toward social justice.

Research Design: This is an analytic essay that describes the development of a theoretical construct.

Conclusions/Recommendations: We discuss plans for future research on the relevance of the model for teachers, teacher staff development, and curriculum design in secondary and postsecondary classrooms and in community-based dialogues and collaborative action networks.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 112 Number 9, 2010, p. 2295-2319
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15787, Date Accessed: 10/23/2017 6:40:57 PM

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About the Author
  • Lee Bell
    Barnard College, Columbia University
    E-mail Author
    LEE ANNE BELL is the Barbara Silver Horowitz Director of Education at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her research interests focus on pedagogical approaches to social justice in teacher education, how racial discourse affects teaching and learning, and supporting new teachers as agents of change. Recent publications: Bell, L. A. (2008). Expanding definitions of good teaching. In M. Pollock (Ed.), Everyday antiracism: Getting real about race in school (pp. 287290). New York: Free Press; and Roberts, R. A., Bell, L. A., & Murphy, B. (2008). Flipping the script: Analysis of youth talk about race and racism. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 39, 334354.
  • Rosemarie Roberts
    Connecticut College
    ROSEMARIE A. ROBERTS is an assistant professor of education at Connecticut College. Her research focuses on critical analyses of race, ethnicity, and gender in education. She is also interested in conceptualizations of social justice in educational practices, particularly the ways in which social justice projects and the arts intersect to reveal the complex layers of structural, sentient, and epistemological aspects of educational practice in and outside of school settings. Recent publications: Roberts, R. A., Bell, L. A., & Murphy, B. (2008). Flipping the script: Analysis of youth talk about race and racism. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 39, 334354; and Fine, M., Roberts, R. A.,& Torre, M. E. (2004). Echoes of Brown: Youth documenting and performing the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education. New York: Teachers College Press.
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