Reflecting on CAPCON and The Last Blog of the Year!

As a member of the CAP Global Citizens stream, I attended the year-end CAPCON Conference which brings together each stream in CAP. I was unsure of what to expect at first until I entered the gateway space of room 308 at the Irving Barber Learning Center but when I entered, all the unease went away. What I found was that CAPCON was a way for students to combine all they had learned in each of their respective CAP courses and present their own research of research built onto what was learned. Below, I will speak of three presentations that stood out to me.

The first presentation I viewed was done by Law and Society stream students: Vanessa Chan, Caroline Cassinelli, Niki Konstantinovic and Melissa Tan. Their presentation stood out to me because they successfully analyzed how the Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar, The Last Airbender served as a counter narrative to the traditional methods of cartoons at the time in terms of characters and the overall plot. They started off their presentation stating on how the film series did not present normal cultural norms. The series successfully meshed together Asian and Native cultures to provide viewers a different experience from the typical. From here, they compared the series to the film that was released. The presenters associated the failure of the film with the director’s lack of understanding of what made the show so great in comparison. I agreed with this completely. What stood out to me the most however was how the presenters demonstrated that in the series, the directors blurred the line between typical gender norms of strength and weakness. The show’s characters exhibited emotions of the opposite genders deliberately therefore blurring the lines. I would like to congratulate the presenters for this panel as it is a very unique way to examine a television show. This project makes me want to watch the whole Avatar series on Netflix haha.

My fellow Global Citizens students carried out the second presentation viewed this was by: Peija Ding, Nico Jimenez and Ina de Weerdt. Their project was focused on body security with a sociological perspective using the studies of scholar C. Wright Mills. The project was divided between body security of females and then of males. I found their study on the male perspective interesting as it turns out males may suffer more body security issues yet keep it hidden. What makes the experience of males different is the lack of a support system they may have in order to speak their minds. I associated this to the pressures put on males to be the strong alpha. I connected to this project really well as I at one point had to deal with body image issues head on starting in elementary school and carrying on to approximately grade 10. Guys, this was an excellent project, and it looks like practice makes perfect! (Before entering CAPCON, I saw them practicing). I was very impressed with the findings.

The final presentation I viewed was by another one of my fellow Global Citizens members, this time by Isabelle Semmelhack and her spoken word: “More than Just a Story”. What made this work stand out to me was how she illustrated the life of a young man trying to fit into the “new world” (North America). I connected to this on a very deep level as Isabelle spoke of how this man in desperation for a new life decided the best way to form bonds was through a gang. Being a member of the South Asian community, I have seen and heard of many men arriving from India but despite having connections here (through family) he does not feel like he belongs. This lack of belonging compels him to dig deeper for friendship only to arrive at the front doorstep of a gang who take him in as if they are brothers. The fact that gang issues run rampant in my demographic community made me connect well to this spoken word. Isabelle, this was an excellent project and your spoken word has made me understand perhaps why these men more than ever need us to make them feel a sense of belonging.

In the end, I found CAPCON a real eye opener however in the end, I took away something else as well. CAPCON is the final CAP gathering of the year and that the year is almost over. I am so glad I signed up for CAP and for all the people that brought me to UBC, thank you. I hope I will have another amazing  year come September. This year, I met many friends that I hope to retain for the rest of my life. FAREWELL CAP 2016!







Memoirs: Further Uses for a Graphic Memoir

In my Arts Studies (ASTU) class this week, we were asked to read the coming of age graphic memoir Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Persepolis is her memoir of her life prior to and after the Iranian revolution and the onset of the Iran Iraq War. What stood out to me about the memoir was how “outside the box” it was. Satrapi went the unconventional route by composing a historic memoir using a graphic novel. Also, unlike most memoirs about the Iranian Revolution, this is the revolution through the eyes of a child.

Throughout the year, my ASTU class has been studying different types of memoirs. From knowledge gained, I will analyze how Persepolis is in fact a counter narrative to the genre of memoirs and of Western views of Iran’s revolution. From here, I will provide insight into how graphic memoirs can be a success not for just historical memoirs but marginalized groups.

Unlike most memoirs, Persepolis is a graphic novel therefore; strategies to analyze and interpret Satrapi’s publication are different. Graphic novels require more attention to detail as one is not simply reading text but also paying attention to the characters, their expressions and what is going on in the background. Despite further steps to analyze a graphic novel, visual cues make it a much more streamlined process. Perhaps this allows for a better understanding of the text. Second, the simple fact the book was told through the eyes of a young Iranian girl is also a counter narrative. In Western Society, we think of Iran as the “evil” state so to have a different viewpoint on the whole issue of the revolution makes for a very interesting read in regards to usual ideas of what a memoir should be. We see how a moderately religious family has to conform to newly imposed standards forced by the newly formed government and so on. Narratives we see in Western society do not make any mention on how difficult it was for secular families to fit into the new Iran. The non-western perspective of the book is what stood out to me the most when first reading Persepolis.

Graphic novels as memoirs are surfacing so therefore, I believe it is possible to allow graphic novels to be further used in the memoir genre. According to Couser, memoirs can serve as a “threshold genre for marginalized populations” (31). This holds to be true I believe after examining the graphic memoir Maus by Art Spiegelman. It is the memoir of his father’s life in Auschwitz as an inmate during the Second World War. I feel that the imagery in graphic novels is what makes them generally liked by those who read them. Especially for historical events, imagery makes it feel much more authentic. Of course Maus is different in how the memories are conveyed. Spiegelman decided to use cats to portray Nazis and mice to portray the inmates of Auschwitz. Graphic memoirs are an excellent platform that hopefully marginalized groups can soon use to further awareness of their plights. Persepolis was helpful in revealing to me the untapped potential graphic novels can serve.


Works Cited


Couser, G. Thomas. Signifying Bodies: Disability in Contemporary Life Writing. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan, 2009. Print.


Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. Paris: L’Association, 2000. Print.


Spiegelman, Art. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale. New York: Pantheon, 1986. Print.




“Whiteness”? Or Bias of Portrayal?

This past week in my Arts Studies class, we began to analyze the memoir Missing Sarah, a true story about the disappearance and murder of Downtown East Side sec worker Sarah De Vries at the hands of the infamous Robert Pickton. Missing Sarah was written by Maggie De Vries, Sarah’s sister and covers her life from beginning to end. I will use the novel in conjunction with an article read and a documentary to examine the “Whiteness” or Bias of Portrayal

Prior to starting Missing Sarah our professor had us read an article on “Missing and Murdered Women: Reproducing Marginality in News Discourse” by Yasmin Jiwani and Mary Lynn Young. As a result of reading the book and this article, I believe I made a connection. What stood out to me was that I believe what made Sarah’s case stand out was that she was adopted as an Aboriginal girl into a “white” family therefore she was indeed raised “white”. As a result of being raised in this way, she was not framed in the horrible media paradigm of being Aboriginal and a sex worker in the Downtown East Side (Jiwani and Young, 902). This analysis of what it meant to be Aboriginal in the Downtown East Side was again carried out in class prior to Missing Sarah. My idea on how it was different when the Aboriginal woman was raised “white” was substantiated by Jiwani and Young as they made mention on how media coverage on another murdered Aboriginal woman who was raised “white” was regarded as if she had lots of potential in comparison to the media’s coverage of simply murdered Aboriginal woman. Not surprisingly, the media portrayed the Aboriginal woman with words such as “addict”.

Connecting onto this theme, in my Sociology class, my professor decided to show us an MTV documentary called “White People”. Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas carried out a social experiment on the premise that minorities, tend to marginalize white people. What made me connect to Missing Sarah and the idea of bias white media was when he went to an Aboriginal school in the US. At the school, majority of the teachers were “white” so Vargas decided to carry out a class in conjunction with the staff asking what it is like being at school as an Aboriginal with a predominantly white staff body. The children replied and stated that their textbooks were quite bias as in everything explained in the books was from a “white” standpoint. There isn’t even acknowledgment of the fact that thousands of Aboriginal men and women were senselessly eliminated. What I notice here is that the lack of mention of Aboriginal people even in a textbook is that the bias must be internalized somehow or the simple fact there seems to be “white” curriculum being taught in schools. This begs the question, what makes them different? What makes any of us with colour or no colour different? Is it a byproduct of media portrayal or something more?

**I use quotation marks as I believe white, or color it does not matter, we are all human.


Works Cited

De Vries, Maggie. Missing Sarah: A Memoir of Loss. 2008 ed. Toronto: Penguin, 2008. Print.

Jiwani, Yasmin, and Mary Lynn Young. “Missing and Murdered Women: Reproducing Marginality in News Discourses.” Canadian Journal of Communication 31.4 (2006): 895-917. Proquest. Web. 28 Feb. 2016.

Archival Project Reflection

Over the past few weeks, my ASTU class was tasked with sifting through and reviewing archival documents at the Rare Books and Special Collections area of the UBC Library. The project of each group was to choose specific archival records or fonds and identify a knowledge gap or silence and from here, our work would be linked to specific collections at the RBSC. In this blog posting, I will reflect on the teamwork I noticed in my group along with raising the question of how the silences we identified will hopefully be filled.

After working with my group, I believe over time, we grew and as a result, ideas and thoughts became more cohesive. It was interesting to see this change, and after a few false starts on the project, it took off. When I mean false starts, I mean that at first some of the ideas fell through. Despite this we persevered and eventually created a new approach to the project. Out group effort eventually culminated into the creation of a website were we covered the second generation of the McLennan family through their official McLennan family fonds.  The McLennans were a very influential family in Canada who hailed from Ireland and eventually laid down their roots in Montreal Quebec. We attempted to approach the project by analyzing the travels of one McLennan through his journal but the legibility of the handwriting proved a challenge. I was amazed to see how we grew as a group. Group projects are quite different than what I recall from high school and in all honesty, this experience made me rethink what the “dreaded” group project is. I took away from this group project that group projects can be useful as a team building exercise. In the end, I believe our presentation went on without a hitch despite me not being able to practice the script with the rest of the group.

Of course, other groups went on with their presentations with the same strategy of identifying the silences and creating a form of consumable media to fill that silence. After listening to all the groups and even my own, silences were indeed present and were filled. With this in mind however, I thought to myself, how long would it take for the work done to be recognized by their particular audiences. This raised the question to me of if maybe, we will have to create a type of campaign to alert the scholarly community that the silences have been filled and hopefully a base has been created to further the research done.


Works Cited









Museum of Anthropology’s c̓əsnaʔəm Exhibit Revisited…. Connecting to Long Time Historical Issues

This past week, students from my ASTU class had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Anthropology’s c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city. The city c̓əsnaʔəm, is the area right off the Arthur Laing Bridge as you enter Vancouver (where the bus depot and budget car lot is located). Prior to visiting the exhibit, I had no idea the area was a significant piece of first nations land (a burial ground) and after finding out, I was displeased to think that the Federal Government decided to brush aside the importance of this land in order to develop it. The struggle of first nations individuals in the area is still happening today and thankfully, the area was not further developed after prolonged protests the development did not proceed. There are still signs of that struggle such as this advertisement for condos which has yet to be removed.

To me, the exhibit further highlights the ongoing struggle between first nations groups and the federal government. While these groups would like to retain their land which is significant to their culture, non first nations individuals see a place of opportunity, they see money. In essence, I believe c̓əsnaʔəm, is a tangible archive because there is so much history embedded in that land, literally (the grounds contain remains of the deceased). Therefore if it was to be developed, that archive would be destroyed. I believe the attempt to develop c̓əsnaʔəm can be considered assimilation. What is surprising is that even after groups such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Federal Government issued apologies to the First Nations peoples of Canada, they still go on in their ways and take land from the people that were present prior. Apologies are not enough and I think it is time for the Federal government to honor the wishes of first nations groups and not take away any more land from them because they have been marginalized ever since settlers came to Canada.

I found connections to my ASTU class as the focus of the last few weeks have been how archives (a derivative of the class’ focus on life narratives) retain a sort of collective memory of peoples or groups. I believe the struggles of the people of c̓əsnaʔəm will be put in an archive as it was one of the few instances were the people succeeded over the government. Along with ASTU, I was able to connect c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city with my sociology course as well. In our Indigeneity and Culture lecture, Professor Sherrie Dilley gave us a lecture on Indigenous issues. What stood out to me was the ongoing “resistance to cultural assimilation” (Dilley, 2015), which was highlighted in the case of Delgamuukw v. British Columbia (1997) regarding the weight of oral histories. At the end of the court case, Judge McEachern concluded that “oral histories held no weight” (Dilley, 2015) even going so far as to say they were not cultured and citing 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes in supporting his views. The judge basically states that oral history should not be treated as something archival. I was able to connect Sociology and ASTU in terms of archives. Along with examining first nations issues in a lecture, we had to do a reflection paper on an archival website called “Where are the Children?” were we examined testimonies of first nations individuals who survived residential schools and gave our take on it utilizing a sociological theory of our choosing.

There needs to be an extension of the conversation concerning land issues between First Nations and the Federal Government so that the taking of land can be understood and stopped.


Works Cited

Dilley, S. (2015). Indigeneity and Culture [PowerPoint slides]. retrieved from

“Google Maps.” Google Maps. Google. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.

Rowley, Susan, and Jordan Wilson. “Museum of Anthropology at UBC | C̓esnaʔəm, The City Before the City at MOA.” Museum of Anthropology at UBC. UBC. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.

“Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools.” Where Are The Children. Truth and Reconciliation Comission. Web. 24 Jan. 2016.


The Question of Fear

In the aftermath of the Paris Attacks, the downing of a Russian Jetliner, and the bombing in Beirut, there has been widespread debate through social media, news agencies and among politicians about the fear such events cause. The intention of these terrorist attacks is publicity for ISIS and to generate fear. The other ISIS aim is to demonstrate retribution against the coalition countries. ISIS uses religion to justify attacks where non-Muslims are considered infidels. In other words, an infidel is anyone who does not agree with their principles and is in the Western world. By terrorizing people in the West, their aim is to change our way of life in the West or even alter our very own narratives; ISIS has altered an innumerable amount of narratives with their bloodlust.

The terrorist attacks created numerous deaths and fear among the population. If we succumb to such fear by changing our way of life we are letting the terrorist win. Franklin Roosevelt famously stated “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. ISIS wants our freedoms to not be enjoyed. ISIS considers what we do enjoy to be a sin or haram in Arabic. This is substantiated by the targets picked out for the November 12 attacks in Paris. The targets included in the Bataclan theatre, a restaurant and a soccer stadium. These are all places that people go to enjoy themselves and have a good time.

One of the attackers entered Europe through a route used by Syrian and Iraqi refugees. As a result, there is widespread concern in the West about taking in more refugees. In reality, the refugees are as afraid as we are. Countries that have pledged to help the refugees should not go back on their word because of fear. This picture illustrates vividly the plight of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The residents of Paris are not changing their way of life and are thereby providing a great example to the world. They are resolute and have been going out despite the fear created by the attacks. Social media and news are filled with examples of how Parisians helped one another during the attacks and are standing together in solidarity afterwards. A video created by Paris resident Antoine Leiris in memory of his wife is one such example. Furthermore, another good example came from a little boy and his father. In this video excerpt, the father helps his son understand that there is no need to change anything in life in order to be safe.

The two videos above help explain that being afraid is counterproductive. This is substantiated in the Globe and Mail newspaper article from Saturday, November 21, were the writer states “excessive fear of them (ISIS) is dangerous and counterproductive”. People need to stand up to the terrorists not with guns blazing but by carrying on with our lives and not changing anything. Necessary precautions must be taken but we must not give into fear. The Globe and Mail article states that “a fringe cult can’t harm our tolerant, liberal society – but our fear can. Terrorism is not powerful enough to defeat us. But if we are not careful we may be weak or foolish enough to hurt ourselves” (Keller para 2-3).



Beeler, Nate. “Cartoons.” The Week. Cagle Cartoons, 19 Nov. 2015. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <×450>.
“Little Boy Reacts to Paris Attacks.” YouTube. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>.
“Paris Attacks: ‘I Will Not Give You the Gift of Hating You’ – BBC News.” BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation, 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. <>.
“Why Is Ottawa Courting Chaos?” The Globe and Mail 21 Nov. 2015, F6: Global Focus sec. Print.

Cockeyed: Emancipatory or Stigma/Fear Narrative? What does it fit into?

In class we went over what type of life narrative rhetoric Cockeyed would fit into but I would like to bring in different aspects of how it does not exactly fit into a single narrative type. I will be accomplishing this by drawing from the book and from Signifying Bodies” by Thomas G. Couser.

I believe majority of those in my class settled on Cockeyed being an emancipatory life narrative which according to Couser “contests received attitudes about disability” (33). I agree with this but aspects of Cockeyed do not conform to the emancipatory narrative exactly despite many instances of the narrative within the pages of Cockeyed.  On the contrary of the emancipatory narrative, I believe Ryan Knighton also brings aspects of a narrative that is stigmatizing to the blind population; not intentionally but when he was learning to adapt to being blind. There were many instances in the book where Knighton in fact conforms to stereotypes about blindness carried by the normal (sighted) population.  This was exemplified in page 185 of Cockeyed where Knighton expresses his fear of blind people leading to my next point about what is it that makes people fear blindness?

This idea of fearing blindness is seen in Cockeyed when muggers approached Ryan Knighton and his girlfriend Jane asking “watcha got, man?” (91). So of course the muggers pressed Knighton to give in and give them something but it all changed once the muggers found out he was blind. Their reaction to finding out he was blind was game changing, the thieves became empathetic and ran off. From reading this passage in the book, I think what deterred the thieves from attacking Knighton (after finding out he was blind) was the fact that being sighted is what people associate with being human along with many other senses that we in fact take for granted. I would guess according to the thieves it would be dehumanizing for the thieves to mug a man robbed of what makes him human. I was able to substantiate this claim by reading an article from the National Federation of the Blind were author Seville Allen gets assistance moving from a young man who exclaims “Seeing you frightens me because I would be helpless if I couldn’t see.” (para. 4).

Knighton’s narrative has an incomplete foothold simply on emancipatory narrative as there is also the aspect of stigma from himself and others in the context of it. Even Knighton conforms to the stigma while trying to hone is skills in adaption.  Furthermore, it seems what is considered different makes the public fear it due to it being different from what is usual.


Works Cited

Allen, S. (1997, November 1). Fear of Blindness. Retrieved November 9, 2015, from        

Couser, G. (2009). Rhetoric and Self Representation in Disability Memoir. In Signifying bodies disability in contemporary life writing. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.

Knighton, R. (2006). Cockeyed: A memoir. Toronto, Ontario: Penguin Canada.

Life Narratives of South Asian Gang Members and the Effects

How the Idea Came Along

For this blog entry, I decided to focus on the adverse effects of life narratives locally, specifically how life narratives of prominent South Asian gang members are, in a way, influencing our generation in extremely undesirable ways.

I had the privilege of watching an early screening of the Deepa Mehta film “Beeba Boys” (“Beeba”= good in Punjabi) courtesy of the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF).  The use of the word “beeba” in the title  is extremely ironic. “Beeba Boys” has to be the most accurate (among very few) portrayals of the violent and brutal realities of South Asian gang life in film.  The movie is centred around the daily life of fictional gang leader Jeet Johar and his crew, who at the time of the film are creating a name for themselves.  As the film progresses, Johar meets a young man named Nep in prison.   Nep is a former Simon Fraser University student who had been lured into the drug trade and eventually succeeds in his mission to join the Beeba Boys.   In the movie, it was quite obvious the character of Nep was driven to serve the Beeba Boys in any way, shape or form because of the promises of the easy money it can bring along with expensive European cars, women and respect from the rest of the criminal underworld.  This ambition in South Asian society can ultimately lead to unnecessary waste of life and it is indeed a very real issue, not just in movies.

Background/The Narrative of One Man

Many people in Vancouver, especially in the South Asian community (due to the majority of gang deaths being South Asian) recall the gang war of the 1990s.  In this era, one man rose to the top ranks of  Vancouver’s criminal underworld and that fellow was Bhupinder “Bindy” Singh Johal,  whose life is probably the inspiration for the character Jeet in “Beeba Boys”.  Bindy was known as one of the most violent kingpins to ever be involved in Vancouver’s lucrative drug trade.  Bindy introduced the idea of broad daylight shootings (for example, the Dosanjh killings) and it was known that he even killed several friends for perceived disloyalty.  In the South Asian community, Bindy was known as an extremely multifaceted character – at the same time he directly or indirectly caused the end of so many promising young lives and created devastation for the families left behind, the fear created by his actions in the wider community is widely considered one of the primary factors ending the racism towards the South Asian population.  My family sometimes argues that he is the reason nobody dares to demonstrate overt racism in Vancouver today, which was not the case before the era.  It is interesting how one person’s life narrative can intersect and affect, whether negatively or positively, so many others.  Sadly, Bindy met his demise in 1998 amid further intensification of the South Asian drug war.

Bindy may have died but his narrative has resonated and thrived in South Asian gang cultures and youth all over North America.  Young adolescents to this day still read indirect and sometimes direct narratives of those close to Johal and become undesirably driven to emulate Bindy’s life despite the risk to their lives. His way of living has set a precedent for many other South Asian adolescents entering despite knowing that the only way to leave the gang world is death.  Many in our generation become blinded by the possibility of millions of dollars in income, gold watches, European cars and lots of girls.  Although Johal arguably did create some positive change for the South Asian community, he left a legacy of numerous senseless killings of South Asian adolescents.  Hundreds of young men, full of potential and life were lost, not to mention the devastation of the families they left behind.



In case any of you are interested in “Beeba Boys”…….Pardon the language.






Life Narratives Field Work


For my fieldwork on life narratives, I examined the memoir “Living With a Wild God A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything” by Barbara Ehrenreich. As the title suggests, the book is indeed about the “Search for truth and about everything” (Ehrenreich) but there is much more to it and it is not simply about religion as suggested by the title. The book is a memoir/autobiography as the context of the book is based off Ehrenreich’s rediscovered youth journal, which recounts her reflection on not only faith but also science and the human condition (Amazon)(the basis of faiths). The book can relate to society today, as religion is a highly debated issue along with the fact that many individuals are deciding to become atheist; by hearing a non-believer’s journey to find some form of meaning in faith is an intriguing aspect of this memoir.


The autobiography comes in one of five versions: Kindle, hardcover, paperback, Audible and in an audio CD format (Amazon). Each version of the memoir has the same cover ( (Amazon) along with the same endorsement of the book as the “New York Times Bestselling Author of Nickel and Dimed”.  In the UBC Bookstore, I was able to examine the book in person and what drew me toward this book was the feeling of the cover. The cover was “matte” black with a stark contrast of gold bursts for the title. I believe this book captures readers by first attracting them to how different the front design of the book is compared to others.


Reception to the memoir was generally positive and the Chicago Tribune states that it is “A smart and enjoyable read… Ehrenreich maintains a grip on a sensible skepticism about religious matters – and a positive hostility toward the idea of unthinking faith – while avoiding the narrow-minded excesses that more zealous atheists sometimes fall victim to” (Amazon). Most of the endorsements about the book stem from the religious significance it presents through its context.

Questions in Relation to Whitlock

Who is getting to speak autobiographically, how, and why?

Barbara Ehrenreich got the chance to speak to the general public autobiographically after rediscovering her youth journal. Ehrenreich is speaking to us autobiographically to reflect on her ideas of religion, science and the human condition; what makes the whole memoir intriguing is the fact that Barbara Ehrenreich is a “non believer” (atheist).

What kinds of engagement come into play?

As the book speaks of religion, it applies to audiences on a global scale, particularly those who are invested in religion and the common atheist.

How do these appeal to readers, and what kind of consumers are we asked to become?

The memoir itself would most likely appeal to readers because of how significant of a role religion plays in the world. Religion is in every part of our lives atheist or not every aspect of society has a tie in to religion be that socially, politically and economically. Socially, religion provides a basis to live their lives by while politically, we see the many issues that have risen from religion (such as the Quebec Laws) The book also provides a pre 9/11 take on religion which readers can compare to the post 9/11 take on religion as the memoir is based on Ehrenreich’s youth journal. The kind of consumer we are asked to become with this memoir is to be an analytical consumer. The reason it is analytical is because of the insight into religion this autobiography offers despite the author being a “non believer”.





Outer Jacket (Cover)






An Introduction to Life Narratives/About the Blogger!

My name is Shaan Lail, I am eighteen years old and an undergraduate studying Arts at the University Of British Columbia under the Combined Arts Program’s Global Citizens stream.  I was born with a neuro muscular disorder known as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease that slowly causes deterioration of motor functions every single muscle) over time so I use a wheelchair for mobility and require assistance to carry out everyday physical tasks.  Because of my physical impairments, my view on the world is different compared to the perspective of able bodied individuals, who take many things I struggle with for granted.  I plan on utilizing this blog to express and explain my views on various topics and issues along the lines of life narratives which is in the context of the Arts Studies course.

I would like to analyze the sociological thinking behind life narratives.  Specifically, I would like to explore why what we see about life narratives in various forms of media can alter our perspective.  This question has compelled me ever since I became an avid YouTube watcher.  As events worldwide have unfolded many individuals get their first hand glimpses from YouTube and other social media.  Since it’s founding, more and more individuals use YouTube’s platform to express their own narratives and perception of world events and issues.  These perspectives are often different than those provided on mass media or news networks which allows greater understanding.  Among videos I have seen on YouTube, I have been intrigued by how different people speak about the issue of race which currently, is a very dominant issue.  How people react in these videos can drastically shape people’s perspectives such as when exactly two years ago (September 17, 2013) I watched a video regarding how numerous individuals all around the United States were angry that Nina Davuluri a woman of East Indian descent won the highly controversial Miss America Beauty Pageant.  Prominent “YouTuber” Jasmeet Singh or “JusReign” created his own opinion on the topic.  Although the context of the video was somewhat comical, he brought up several major points about how there is no ideal person or demographic that fits in everyday society now, we are all human.  Maybe society has not yet stepped into a “post racial” society.  When Barack Obama was sworn into office, it was regarded as the transition into a “post racial” era but time and time again, we have seen that maybe this is not the case.


Video Source: