Event Title

Stories Lost, Stories Known: Promoting Cultural and Historical Continuity through Storytelling

Presenter Information

Dana Fang, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center A254

Start Date

9-26-2014 3:30 PM

End Date

9-26-2014 5:00 PM

Abstract

This creative project explores the traditional methods of oral storytelling and handcrafted bookmaking as means of promoting cultural and historical continuity in a society where cultural, linguistic, and national displacements are commonplace. Much of my research consists of a hands-on approach focused on craft. In early June, I started on a summer-long internship in Eastern papermaking and book-arts at the Morgan Conservatory of Paper. I also began an independent examination of the artist books collection at the Clarence Ward Art Library. In addition, I engaged in intensive reading in the history, practice and philosophy of papermaking and book-arts. I am especially interested in the traditions of oral storytelling and handmade books in China, where there are documented intersections between these crafts. Before I began my research, I made two assumptions about the processes of oral storytelling and handcrafted bookmaking. Oral storytelling stood on one end of the spectrum, being a process that emphasized continuity but was mutable; handmade books stood at the other end, emphasizing permanence and materiality. Over the course of my research, it has become clear that my early assumptions were not only wrong, but also overly simplistic. I have discovered that, rather than merely being vehicles for resisting displacement, both crafts in their evolution have modeled how displacement and erasure are intrinsic to the process of continuity. The reassessment of the assumptions with which I began this project have caused me to re-evaluate how I was originally viewing ‘cultural and historical continuity’, and to re-define the terms that have come to be associated with the terms ‘preservation’ and ‘recovery’.

Notes

Session II, Panel 5 - Beauty, Femininity: Challenging Academic Discourses

Award

Oberlin College Research Fellow (OCRF)

Project Mentor(s)

Sylvia Watanabe, Creative Writing

Document Type

Presentation

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Sep 26th, 3:30 PM Sep 26th, 5:00 PM

Stories Lost, Stories Known: Promoting Cultural and Historical Continuity through Storytelling

Science Center A254

This creative project explores the traditional methods of oral storytelling and handcrafted bookmaking as means of promoting cultural and historical continuity in a society where cultural, linguistic, and national displacements are commonplace. Much of my research consists of a hands-on approach focused on craft. In early June, I started on a summer-long internship in Eastern papermaking and book-arts at the Morgan Conservatory of Paper. I also began an independent examination of the artist books collection at the Clarence Ward Art Library. In addition, I engaged in intensive reading in the history, practice and philosophy of papermaking and book-arts. I am especially interested in the traditions of oral storytelling and handmade books in China, where there are documented intersections between these crafts. Before I began my research, I made two assumptions about the processes of oral storytelling and handcrafted bookmaking. Oral storytelling stood on one end of the spectrum, being a process that emphasized continuity but was mutable; handmade books stood at the other end, emphasizing permanence and materiality. Over the course of my research, it has become clear that my early assumptions were not only wrong, but also overly simplistic. I have discovered that, rather than merely being vehicles for resisting displacement, both crafts in their evolution have modeled how displacement and erasure are intrinsic to the process of continuity. The reassessment of the assumptions with which I began this project have caused me to re-evaluate how I was originally viewing ‘cultural and historical continuity’, and to re-define the terms that have come to be associated with the terms ‘preservation’ and ‘recovery’.