Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)
College of Arts and Sciences
Research question: How has the practice of storytelling been used in the current U.S. conflicts over immigration?
Telling an effective story is an essential part of a complex strategy to bring about social change, but storytelling as a part of collective action has not been extensively studied. For activists in the United States fighting for immigrant rights, especially the passage of the DREAM Act, storytelling has been an important tactic, but the nature of the narrative that was constructed has its drawbacks because it excluded some members of the immigrant community. In 2010, the Bay Area-based group 67 Sueños (“67 Dreams”) was formed in order to express the voices of undocumented youth not represented in the debate. Storytelling is one of the tactics the group utilizes. The nature of the group’s storytelling practices was investigated during the summer of 2014 during which members of 67 Sueños completed two immigration-themed murals in the Bay Area. Storytelling plays a central role in helping members of the group overcome trauma and transform themselves into vocal activists. The group’s employment of universal human rights discourse in the stories they tell prompts important questions about how to tell stories that include such principles while connecting with stakeholders more familiar with arguments focused on the concept of the nation-state and national belonging.
Schmenner, Drew, "Countering the DREAMer Narrative: Storytelling, Immigration Reform, and the Work of 67 Sueños" (2014). Master's Theses. 117.