Storytelling content, contexts, and controversies

A conscionable calculus


  • Wendy K. Mages Mercy College



Storytelling in education, Personal narrative, Oral narrative, Autobiographical storytelling, Memoir


The performance of autoethnographic storytelling can amplify the voices of those who are often unheard, silenced, or marginalized. Moreover, personal storytelling in appropriate contexts can provide a forum for sharing the previously unspoken or unspeakable that, when shared, can begin to heal the teller and promote social justice and societal change. Yet, not all contexts are are appropriate and not all stories are safe to share. Thus, telling autoethnographic stories can present ethical concerns for which there are no pat answers or one-size-fits-all solutions. This article discusses a few of these concerns.

Author Biography

Wendy K. Mages, Mercy College

Wendy K. Mages, a Professor at Mercy College, earned a master’s and doctorate in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a master’s in Theatre from Northwestern University. Her research has been published in journals such as Review of Educational Research, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Research in Drama Education, Youth Theatre Journal, Scenario, and the International Journal of Education and the Arts. In addition to her teaching and research, she performs autoethnographic stories at storytelling events, such as The Moth. One of her stories appears in The Journal of Stories in Science.


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