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The Value of Stories in Geographical Knowledge

By Emily Duchenne - Geography Student @ Brasenose College, Oxford


The use of oral narratives, or storytelling, in how geographical knowledge is produced and disseminated is being increasingly adopted as an alternative approach to conventional forms of knowledge transfer in contemporary academic life. In this article, I will explore the importance of Indigenous storytelling in contemporary Western scientific epistemologies and research, drawing together diverse ontologies through the stories told by senior Indigenous women in north-Western North America of life on the glaciers. I will draw on the concept of ‘small stories’ to demonstrate how oral narratives find ways for accounting for lives and experiences as a networked reality. Finally, I will discuss the potentials of ‘storying for change’, where feminist geographers have a longstanding history in using individual narratives to challenge patriarchal and masculinist systems of knowledge