I fancy myself a writer.


Lit Review: Who should be held accountable for failure to protect children from domestic violence?

"North Hampton is a Domestic violence fre...

“North Hampton is a Domestic violence free-zone” (Massachussetts) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello! I am continuing my literature review today for my summer course, “Family Violence: Cross-Cultural Perspectives.” Today’s article examines cases in which victims of domestic violence have lost custody of their children for failing to protect them from being exposed to violence in the home. You may read the full article here.

Harris, L. J. (2010). Failure to Protect from Exposure to Domestic Violence in Private Custody Contests. Family Law Quarterly44(2), 169-195.

Child custody arrangements in the United States have evolved a great deal over the past fifty years. Prior to the 1970s, a joint custody arrangement was not an option for most families. In most cases, the custody of the children would have been awarded to the primary caregiver, who was often the mother. In the late 1970s, with the advent of the father’s rights movement, many states began to enact laws allowing divorcing parents to share legal custody of their children. With these changes in place, it wasn’t long before family courts were faced with the necessity of determining whether a joint custody arrangement was in the best interests of children in cases that involved domestic violence. (more…)

Is co-parenting possible when one parent is a batterer?

In today’s literature review, I take a look at an article by Dana Harrington Conner, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Delaware Civil Law Clinic at the Widener University School of Law. In this article, the author outlines several factors that make co-parenting between a batterer and his victim unmanageable at best. You may review the full article here.

Conner, D. H. (2011). Back to the Drawing Board: Barriers to Joint Decision-Making in Custody Cases Involving Intimate Partner ViolenceDuke Journal of Gender Law & Policy18(2), 223-260.

In this article, Conner argues that a joint-custody arrangement when intimate partner violence is a factor inherently goes against the children’s best interests. A joint-custody arrangement may only be successful when both parents are able to freely communicate their opinions and cooperate to make decisions about their children. This type of arrangement may only exist in a situation where the balance of power is relatively equal between the two parties. (more…)

Closing the gap between east and west in “Persepolis”

Cover of Persepolis 1, 2000. L'Association Fre...

Cover of Persepolis 1, 2000. L’Association French edition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In her graphic novel, Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi examines the pedagogical issue of “othering” and creates closeness between her western audience and its perceived enemy – the Iranian people – by speaking directly to and carefully instructing the reader on Iran and its people. She explicitly teaches the reader about the Iranian revolution and how she and Iranians like her are very much like us here in the West.

The history of Iran that Satrapi provides in the introduction creates a frame for her story in which the reader must consider the fact that the fundamentalists who now rule Iran were created by the west. She also strives to strip away the “otherness” and show us that we are, in many ways, more alike than we are different. Satrapi uses her text to show her western audience that she and other educated Iranians like her are more like everyday westerners than they are like the fundamentalist Iranians who are so vilified by the west.

Throughout Persepolis, the character of Marji often speaks directly to the western reader. There is no question that Satrapi uses her text to teach to a western audience. For example, in the scene on pages 114-115, Marji walks purposefully down a flight of stairs toward her audience. She may as well be an actor on a stage, pausing the show to step down to audience-level and explain her country’s descent into war. Such a move would not be necessary if she were writing for an Iranian audience. (more…)

Annotated Bib: “Creative Transcendence: Memoir Writing For Transformation And Empowerment.”

Diana Raab

Diana Raab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week’s Annotated Bibliography entry reviews an article by Diana Raab, a researcher and memoir writer who explores “the transformative and empowering dynamics of writing a memoir in connection with transcendent/pivotal experiences.” You may view the full text here.

Annotated Bib Entry

Raab, Diana. “Creative Transcendence: Memoir Writing For Transformation and Empowerment.” Journal Of Transpersonal Psychology 46.2 (2014): 187-207. Academic Search Complete. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.

In this article, Raab discusses a study she conducted in which she examined the works of five writers who have written at least one book-length memoir. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact on the participants of writing about events that have transformed their lives. Participants were chosen who had 1) written at least one memoir that was prompted by the occurrence of a pivotal or transformative event in their lives, and 2) reported that writing a memoir about the inciting incident(s) provided additional transformative and empowering experiences for the writer. Individual stories were analyzed in an effort to identify their similarities and differences. (more…)

Annotated Bib: “Gender and Violence”

This week’s Annotated Bibliography entry reviews an article by Jacquelyn Knoblock, a domestic violence survivor who examines the role of gender expectations in her experience of a violent intimate partner relationship. You may view the full text here.

Annotated Bib Entry

Knoblock, Jacquelyn. “Gender And Violence.” Human Architecture: Journal of The Sociology of Self-Knowledge 6.2 (2008): 91-101. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.

In this article, Knoblock explores “how gender ideologies and practices contribute to gender based violence” (91). She discusses issues such as the process by which human beings are classified as male or female, the stratification of genders in which “men are ranked above women within the same race and class,” and the structure of our society that dictates gender roles and determines whether certain tasks – for example, household chores – are considered by society as either male or female. Knoblock then connects these elements to the prevalence of gender based violence in American society.

women meme

Women are nine times less safe in the home than out of it.

Throughout the history of the world, and the United States, gender based violence has been widely considered to be a personal issue rather than a societal issue. Gender based violence occurs most often in situations where the perpetrator maintains the perception that he has the right to behave in a violent manner toward the victim. In the United States, this most often occurs within the context of an intimate partner relationship and thus has often been viewed as a private matter. This view has often lead bystanders to ignore the violence, believing that it is “none of their business.” (more…)

Annotated Bib: “Toward a Writing and Healing Approach in the Basic Writing Classroom: One Professor’s Personal Odyssey.”

Basic writing

Basic writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week’s Annotated Bibliography entry analyzes an article by Molly Hurley Moran, a composition teacher who learned the importance of incorporating personal writing in the classroom after writing a memoir about a personal tragedy in her own life. You may view the full text here.

Annotated Bib Entry

Moran, Molly Hurley. “Toward a Writing and Healing Approach in the Basic Writing Classroom: One Professor’s Personal Odyssey.” Journal of Basic Writing 23.2 (2004): 93-115.Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.

After writing a memoir about a tragic experience in her own life, this writing teacher decided to explore the usefulness of using personal writing in a basic composition course rather than focusing solely on academic writing. In her redesigned curriculum, Moran asks students to write about personal and often painful experiences in their own lives in an effort to improve students’ confidence in their writing skills prior to moving the focus to academic writing. (more…)

How to review scholarly articles on your blog

Dumbarton Rock, The Guard House - geograph.org...

For some reason, when I asked Zemanta for images of “works cited,” it gave me a bunch of pictures of old ruins like this one. Zemanta can be so helpful when generating content for your blog. Except when it’s not! | Dumbarton Rock, The Guard House – geograph.org.uk – 1380537 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not long ago, I wrote a post complaining about having to write a detailed, 10+ page annotated bibliography for a course that I have been taking this semester. It seemed like such a large amount of work to have to do for so very little reward. Well, I don’t mind telling you that I have since had to eat my own words!

I have found that this exercise not only helped me digest the articles I am reading for my final paper, but it also offers an excellent framework for organizing blog posts and generating blog content. Because I have found this assignment so useful, today I share with you a general outline for writing your own scholarly article reviews for your blog: (more…)

Annotated Bib: “The Connection between Art, Healing, And Public Health: A Review of Current Literature.”

This week’s Annotated Bibliography entry comes from Stuckey, HL, and J Nobel, who explore the idea that human health – which they view as more than just the absence of illness – can be enhanced through the use of expressive arts. For the purposes of this blog post, I focus on the section that specifically explores expressive writing (pp. 259-261). You may view the full text here.

Annotated Bib Entry

Stuckey, HL, and J Nobel. “The Connection Between Art, Healing, And Public Health: A Review Of Current Literature.” American Journal Of Public Health 100.2 (2010): 254-263. CINAHL with Full Text. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.

This article offers a review of current literature on the relationship between the arts and healing. It includes a definition and overview of “holistic health” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The authors use this literature review to illustrate “the connection between artistic engagement and the psychosocial and biological manifestations of that connection.”



According to the WHO definition, “holistic health” encompasses the individual’s total well-being, including social and mental as well as physical aspects. The literature discussed in this article is reviewed as a response to the chronic diseases that have become a burden to the nation. Stress and depression are linked to preventable illnesses such as heart disease. Creative pursuits including expressive writing can help decrease stress and depression, which may then decrease chronic illnesses, thus reducing the burden on the community. (more…)

Annotated Bib: “Healing the Past through Story”

This week’s Annotated Bibliography entry analyzes an article by Judy Mullet, et al. who explore the concept of healing through revising personal life stories. You may view the full text here.

To be human is to have a story to tell. meme

To be human is to have a story to tell.

Annotated Bib Entry

Mullet, Judy H., Nels M. K. Akerson, and Allison Turman. “Healing the Past Through  Story.” Adult Learning 24.2 (2013): 72-78. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.

Psychologist Judy Mullet, Ph.D. et al discuss the personal “baggage” (72) that all students bring with them into the classroom and how asking adult students to rewrite their stories within the context of a personal narrative paper can lead to healing. The authors explore current research on narrative psychology – how individuals construct stories about their lives and “self” – and discuss ways to incorporate the research into the classroom. Their research focuses on teaching adult learners to recognize alternatives to their previous stories and look at them from a new, and in many cases, healthier perspective. (more…)

Annotated Bib: “Let Me Tell You a Story”

Glitter and Trauma

Bonus writing prompt: Write a story about this picture. | Glitter and Trauma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week’s Annotated Bibliography entry comes from Rachel Spear, who argues that students may act as witnesses to trauma as enacted in trauma stories. You may view the full text here.

Annotated Bib Entry

Spear, Rachel N. “Let Me Tell You A Story.” Pedagogy 14.1 (2014): 53-79. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Mar. 2015.

In this article, Rachel Spear argues that teaching trauma narratives should not focus only on the trauma and the students’ response to the trauma. Instead, she argues that teaching trauma narratives can have a transformational effect on students as well as the teacher and the writer of the trauma narrative. Spear uses what she refers to as a “wounded healer pedagogy” which incorporates the healing of all participants. She also outlines a Writing as Healing course that she created to address these issues in the classroom. (more…)