From Howard Zinn’s classic A People’s History of the United States to Central American popular-class testimonies, from “her-story” historiography to Arundhati Roy’s story of families displaced by dams, historical and autobiographical narratives of experience have raised awareness of and gained sympathy for little-known social struggles. Recently, however, stories of experience have met with sharp criticism from unexpected sources. Feminists and poststructuralists have argued that we can no longer trust stories of experience to challenge ruling worldviews, for such stories are themselves constituted through ideological lenses. Stories that relate the experiences of marginalized groups may reveal the existence of difference or oppression, the argument goes, but such stories risk reinforcing the ideologically given categories of identity, difference, and separate spheres of life that structure narrative discourse as well as our own “experience.”1
KeywordsDefend Metaphor Zinn Prose
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