Investigating student memories of cross racial mixing in a postgraduate sociology class in a South African university
The paper reports on a pedagogic and research initiative which I introduced in a
postgraduate sociology course on Youth, Childhood and Gendered Identities which I taught
at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This involved students participating in Collective
Memory Work: choosing, writing and telling a story in class relating to their youth or
childhoods (from their early to very recent years) about themes which were selected by the
class, and then collectively and critically reflecting on these. The aim of this initiative was
to explore and compare constructions and experiences of youth and childhood of different
members of the group. The paper focuses on stories students told on one of the selected
themes: cross racial mixing. Four stories are selected for closer thematic and narrative
analysis. The paper reports on the collective discussions which were held after all the
stories had been read, and the kinds of questions raised in these about the shape, form and
content of the different stories and the nature and status of memories.
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