In Anthropology the life history, or personal narrative of one’s life, has long been recognized as an important vehicle for learning about how culture is experienced and created by individuals. Life histories have a special significance in our highly technological, fast-paced, complex world. As we have become more isolated from one another, the life history offers a means of putting us back in touch with others, recognizing the intimacy results from listening to and telling stories.
Life History and Culture (Anthropology 315) is offered every other spring semester. This course is about lives—the expression of life stories, their collection and recording, and their presentation in written format. While many students create a legacy of a loved one and preserve a personal narrative of a family member for future generations, others write the life history of a favorite professor, a friend from another culture, a leader in their church, or simply a person they admire.
One UNC alumna, Laurin Becker (English, '06) has created a business of life history writing. Visit her website, www.liveandletwrite.com, for more information.