Document Type


Publication Date

January 1997


Narrative, Identity, Memory, Loss, Storytelling


When I learned that my father had died while I was attending a national communication conference, two worlds within me - the academic and the personal - collided, and I was forced to confront the large gulf that divided them. In this article, I weave the story of that experience into the wider fabric of disconnections that promotes isolation and inhibits risk taking and change within universities and academic disciplines. In the process, I question whether the structures of power constitutive of academic socialization are not as difficult to resist as those of one's family, and the consequences as constraining. I use personal narrative to show how storytelling works to build a continuous life of experience, linking the past to the future from the standpoint of the present; to problematize the process of assigning meanings to memories via language; to draw attention to the significance of institutional depression in universities; and to blur the line between theory and story.