Storytelling meets Humanities, Elements Within–Part 3 of 7 – countdown to The Big Why

This is the third of seven parts on disciplines/elements of Humanities that can be found in the Art of Storytelling. This is also a countdown to virtual “The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities” on Saturday, June 20, 2020 from 9:00am-10:30am MDT.

Storytelling meets Humanities, Elements Within:

  • Part 1 – Archaeology – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Communication/Interpretation – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – Cultural Studies – TODAY
  • Part 4 – Folklore/Folklife
  • Part 5 – History
  • Part 6 – Languages/Linguistics
  • Part 7 – Philosophy/Ethics

Cultural Studies is discovering how people find what it means to be human through art, literature, beliefs, and much more throughout the world. As such, cultural studies tend to build the need of social justice and equality.

By the 1960s, the world was more aware of itself in what was called “globalization.” More cultures, than ever before, were exposed to each other. Besides transportation and technology that made interactions easier, many social and civil rights movements occurred during this time. You can read more about this globalization within this book available online called “Lines of Narrative: Psychosocial Perspectives” and edited by Molly Andrews (Professor of Political Psychology) Amal Treacher, Shelley Day Sclater, and Corinne Squire in 2000.

A more recent article in 2015 called “The Science of Storytelling: Perspectives from Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, and the Humanities” labeled the 1990s as the “Decade of the Brain” of when more research and funding focused on mapping the brain and how it was affected by several factors including storytelling, films, and literature. Art naturally comes about from cultural views and expressions.

Although referencing literature rather than oral storytelling, Paul B. Armstrong, author of “How Literature Plays with the Brain,” said that neuroscience had the ability to share how “art changes human experience as it reorders our perceptions and engages our emotions.”

Storytellers must choose what they will NOT say when performing more so than what they ACTUALLY say. Storytellers do not have the time, nor the inclination, to reveal every fact or detail depending on if the story is based on true events or are fantasy-based yet informed by cultural views. Thus, story structure and word choice is how storytellers mold and present themes and cultures to other people.

There is a culture wheel image that is lovely at this article published through Medium. How many parts of culture do you find yourself, as a storyteller, telling about? Geography affects culture the most, though boundaries and lines are drawn and re-drawn every day. Sometimes, those lines feel nonexistent due to the Internet. Yet, after Geography, comes the beliefs, which can mean from a spiritual/religious standpoint to how people feel about sexuality or gender issues.

Most importantly, as we see with current events today, we have ethnicity and how we treat each other. During the Civil War, a new constitution was written for the Confederate States Constitution had strong language on the superiority of the white race. This was effective from March 11, 1861 until the end of the Civil War. Many would say that this feeling has been beneath our society even today. Why are there white supremacy groups today? What drives them?

Now, think of what drives the people that go on peaceful marches and talk of Black Lives Matter. What drives them?

Understanding how these ideas are formed create the story of our society. How do we have that “happily ever after” with feelings that are either constant or evolving?

Storytellers often choose one or more perspective in telling a story. The more perspectives shared, the greater the view and understanding no matter the disagreements or agreements.

So take a look at the many cultures that you participate in–whether by birth or what you have chosen along the way–and discover creative ways of thinking by learning from your culture as well as cultures around you.

We will be doing this 7-part Blog Series on Storytelling and connections with the Humanities as a countdown to our next adventure--join us on Saturday, June 20, 2020 from 9:00am-10:30am MDT from your computer- The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. Our panelists, as pictured above, are: Dr. Caroliese Frink Reed, Sheila Arnold, Darci Tucker, and Brian “Fox” Ellis. We are grateful to funding from Utah Humanities.

See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.