narratives as resilience: students speak


In high school, I read Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” and wrote a literary analysis in which I explored how narratives of the American soldiers in Vietnam demonstrated the ways in which women were used as objects–of comfort, encouragement, and humanization–for motivation to continue the war.

Recognizing how history has demonstrated the use of marginalized bodies as objects or tools for efforts of violence (often at the expense of other or even those same marginalized bodies), I wanted to create a space in which marginalized people can push back against the power structures that oppress them with their own narratives. This project seeks to provide marginalized students at Davidson with a space to share the objects that they carry on this campus that are meaningful or important to them in relation to their identities and experiences at Davidson and beyond. I asked students to share these items with me and had conversations with them about what significance these items held for them. Participants were also asked to write as much or as little as they wish to discuss what the objects mean to them so that their own words could be archived.

As a project seeking to demonstrate resilience in spite of structures that work to oppress us, here are some of our stories.