Learning Through Memoirs: Self, Society, and History


  • Nancy Taber Brock University
  • Shahrzad Mojab
  • Cathy VanderVliet
  • Shirin Haghgou
  • Kate Paterson


adult education, pedagogy, memoir


This article is based on our Memoir Pedagogy Reading Circles research. Using an interpretative sociological case study methodology, we facilitated two groups that read and discussed women’s memoirs as living texts of society, culture, and history; we read the self and the social through the personal narratives of violence, survival, and resistance. e themes that emerged from this collective e ort were a pedagogy for learning and unlearning, a pedagogy for engaging with others, a pedagogy for social justice, and a pedagogy for reclaiming a history. We conclude that, while the contexts, settings, and geographic regions changed in the memoirs, the presence of structural violence was constant. As a pedagogy, the memoir reading circles provided a consistent grounding that helped the participants collectively recognize and negotiate the meaning of the universality and uniqueness of experiences of patriarchy, racism, colonialism, culture, and capitalism as well as the implications of silence, hope, resistance, survival, community, and arts for social transformation. 

Author Biography

Nancy Taber, Brock University

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education


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How to Cite

Taber, N., Mojab, S., VanderVliet, C., Haghgou, S., & Paterson, K. (2016). Learning Through Memoirs: Self, Society, and History. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 29(1), 19–36. Retrieved from https://cjsae.library.dal.ca/index.php/cjsae/article/view/5351

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