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The Uses and Misuses of Storytelling in Social Movements

Sujatha Fernandes

In the last several years, we’ve witnessed a resurgence in movements such as the feminist movement, black lives matter movement, and massive demonstrations against migrant detention and deportation, the Muslim ban, and the gun lobby. One of the key tools used by non-profit groups and legislative campaigns is storytelling, and mass trainings on how to tell stories to legislators to push for political reform and social change. However, the misuses of storytelling may actually limit social change in a broader context. I spoke with Political Science Professor Sujatha Fernandes, who teaches at the University of Sydney and recently published her book, Curated Stories, the Uses and Misuses of Storytelling. I spoke with her about her new book while she was in Riverside. Initially, she wanted to focus on the domestic workers and the bill of rights campaign, but she ended up looking at how curated stories were used and how they impacted several different social issues and movements. 

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