“Counterstory, then, is a method of telling stories by people whose experiences are not often told. Counterstory as a methodology thus serves to expose, analyze and challenge stock stories of racial privilege and can help to strengthen traditions of social, political, and cultural survival and resistance.”Aja Martinez, “A Plea for Critical Race Theory Counterstory,” 70); see also Martinez, Counterstory: The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory (2020)
Working at the intersection of critical race theory and composition studies, Aja Martinez offers counterstory as a method for both scholars and students to encounter the stories that have been erased by a dominant narrative or experience. Might we ask students to use writing to interrupt dominant narratives and tell other kinds of stories about themselves and the world?
Below Brett Seekford, drawing on Joy Ritchie’s and Kathleen Boardman’s essay “Feminism in Composition" and their concept of "disruptive narratives," offers two writing projects that do this kind of work. Brett used these assignments in a general section of ENGL110, themed around writing racial identity. The first assignment asks students to interrogate their own identities using scholarly sources and their own personal experience; the second invites them to engage with an identity different than their own. You can see Brett's full syllabus here.