Fall 2019 Syllabus
INSTRUCTOR: TIME AND LOCATION:
Marshall Ganz Tuesday and Thursday
124 Mt. Auburn - Suite 200N-224 2:45 – 4:00pm
617-495-3937 STARR Auditorium
FACULTY ASSISTANT: OFFICE HOURS:
Heather Adelman Mondays, 2:30 – 4:30pm
124 Mt. Auburn - Suite 200N-217B (see sign up for any changes!)
617-384-9637 Sign up online
Head Teaching Fellow:
124 Mt. Auburn, Ste. 160 S., rm. 105
Questions of what I am called to do, what is my community called to do, and what we are called to do now are at least as old as the three questions posed by the first century Jerusalem sage, Rabbi Hillel:
• If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
• When I am for myself alone, what am I?
• if not now, when?
This course offers students an opportunity to develop their capacity to lead by asking themselves these questions at a time in their lives when it really matters . . . and learning how to ask them of others.
Public narrative is a leadership practice. To lead is to accept responsibility for enabling others to achieve shared purpose in the face of uncertainty. Through narrative we can learn to access the moral – or emotional - resources to respond to the challenges of an uncertain world – as individuals, as communities and as nations. Responding to urgent challenges mindfully – with agency - requires courage rooted in our ability to draw on hope over fear; empathy over alienation; and self-worth over self-doubt.
Public narrative is the art of translating values into the emotional resources for action. It is a discursive process through which individuals, communities, and nations learn to make choices, construct identity, and inspire action. Because it engages the “head” and the “heart,” narrative can instruct and inspire - teaching us not only why we should act, but moving us to act.
We can use public narrative to link our own calling to that of our community to a call to action. Leaders can use public narrative to interpret their values to others, enable one’s community to experience values it shares, and enable others to respond effectively to challenges to those values. It is learning how to tell a story of self, a story of us, and a story of now. Although both modules focus on the links among all three elements, the first module focuses more on the relationship of the self to the us, while the second module focuses more on the relationship of the us to the now.
In recent years, scholars have studied narrative in diverse disciplines including psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, philosophy, legal studies, cultural studies, and theology. Professions engaged in narrative practice include the military, the ministry, law, politics, business, and the arts. We have introduced public narrative training to the Obama campaign (2007-8), Sierra Club, Episcopal Church, United We Dream Movement, the Ahel Organizing Initiative, (Jordan), Serbia on the Move (Belgrade), Avina (Bogata), National Health Service (UK), Peking University (Beijing), Tatua (Kenya), Community Organizing Japan (Tokyo) and elsewhere. In this course we link narrative analysis across the disciplines, narrative practice across the professions, and narrative discourse across cultures with the narrative we practice every day.
Our pedagogy is one of reflective practice. We explain public narrative, model public narrative; students practice their public narrative, and debrief one another with peer coaching. Students are evaluated on their practical and analytic understanding of narrative practice. This is not a course in public speaking, in messaging, image making or spin. It is a class in the craft of translating authentic values into action. It is about learning a process, not writing a script. As Jayanti Ravi, MPA/MC 07 put it, “in this course students learn how to bring out their ‘glow’ from within, not how to apply a ‘gloss’ from without.”
Class will meet fourteen times between September 5th and October 18th: twice a week, every Tuesday and Thursday. We discuss theory, reflect on readings, analyze videos, and coach students to develop their own public stories. In addition to scheduled classes, other important dates include:
Students are evaluated on class participation (35%), a public narrative video of 5 minutes (25%), and a theoretical analysis (3 pages) (40%) evaluating what about their story worked and what did not work. Class participation includes attending lecture and section, contributing to section activities, and submitting story drafts on time. Participation will be evaluated as a check (adequate), check plus (outstanding), check minus (below standard) Anyone more than 20 minutes late to section will be counted as absent for that section meeting.
Three books for this class are available at the Coop and on reserve in the Kennedy School Library:
All course materials are available on the MLD 355M course website: https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/52631
Collaboration: Discussion and the exchange of ideas are essential to academic work. However, you should ensure that any written work you submit for evaluation is the result of your own work. You must also adhere to standard citation practices in this discipline and properly cite any books, articles, websites, lectures, etc. that have helped you with your work. If you received any help with your writing (feedback on drafts, etc.), you must also acknowledge this assistance.
weekly readings & assignments
WEEK 1 | WHAT IS PUBLIC NARRATIVE?
Welcome. Today we get acquainted, discuss course goals, our strategy to achieve them, and requirements. We ground our approach to learning in Thich Nhat Hanh’s parable and Carol Dweck’s wise counsel to bring a “growth mind set” to our work. Bruner grounds our work in the discipline of cultural psychology. My chapter on “Public Narrative” and the Sojourner talk (also on YouTube) explain the framework we will use to analyze James Croft’s public narrative. Recommended readings provide background useful throughout the course. In “Leading Change” I locate “public narrative” in a broader leadership framework. Arendt grounds narrative philosophically, Bruner grounds it psychologically, and Kearney in terms of literature.
On Tuesday, September 11th, please e-mail your response to the Public Narrative Worksheet to firstname.lastname@example.org. Assignments should be sent as a MS WORD attachment. The subject line of the email should read Last Name, First Name: Public Narrative Worksheet. Focus on section one, story of self, identifying key choice points. In section three, the story of now, describe a purpose for which you might motivate others to act. In section two, story of us, try to define the values of a community you might inspire to join you in this action.
Tuesday, September 10th, 2019 | HOW EMOTION MOVES: Values, Motivation and Action
Today we focus on the first part of the public narrative framework: the relationship among emotions, values, and capacity for mindful action, for agency. Marcus explains the neuroscience of anxiety: why we pay attention. Nussbaum argues we experience our values through the language of emotion, information required for making choices. Fredrickson introduces us to the domain of “positive psychology” in particular, the psychology of hope, a response to fear. Smith argues the necessity of understanding the moral frameworks within which individuals, communities, and institutions act in order to understand why we do what we do and the role of narrative within it.
Turn in your response to the Public Narrative Worksheet. Save a copy for yourself.
Thursday, September 12, 2019 | ELEMENTS OF NARRATIVE: Plot, Character, and Moral
Today we focus on the second part of the public narrative framework: the role of plot, character, and moral in the structure of story. Why does our capacity for empathetic identification enable us to access emotional resources for mindful action? Robert McKee, a master of storytelling craft, trains screenwriters. Skim his manual for an introduction to the elements craft, elements we will work with. Here Bruner teams up with Anthony Amsterdam, NYU professor of law, in a book on narrative and law, although this chapter is an account of Bruner’s theory of narrative more broadly. We compare Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton to highlight the elements of narrative.
Saturday, September 14Th, 2019 – Required Public Narrative Workshop
In this all day workshop students develop a first draft of their public narrative by telling it. The day consists of four sessions, one each on story of self, story of us, story of now, and linking. Each component is explained, modeled, practiced, and debriefed. Practice is in small groups facilitated by experienced coaches. This way as you get started you’ll have an idea of where you’re expected to end up. You will also experience the kind of coaching you will learn to offer each other throughout the course of the module.
Today we focus on learning to tell a “story of self”: a story the purpose of which is to enable others to “get you” – to experience the values that call you to leadership on behalf of your cause, in this place, at this time. McAdams shows how “stories of self” are constructed – and reconstructed – growing out of choices we make to deal with challenges that confront us, what we learn from these moments, and how we remember them – something Bruner weighs in on as well. In the video, I coach a California School Employees Association member in articulating her story of self in a 2010 workshop. We analyze how J.K. Rowling used a “story of self” at the 2008 Harvard Graduation to communicate values that called her to her work. Shamir and Elam explain the role of self-narrative in articulating the values that shape the effectiveness with which we can exercise leadership.
Tuesday, September 17Th – Tuesday, September 24th, 2019
Schedule 15-minute session with TF
Thursday, September 19th, 2019 | Telling Your “Self” Story
Today you begin building on Saturday’s workshop in section. Students are assigned to one of seven sections of 20 students whose work is facilitated by a member of our teaching team. Each section subdivides into 5 “coaching teams” of 4 people who work together coaching one another on their public narrative for the rest of the course. Please come to class prepared, using your “story of self” worksheet as a guide. Be certain to submit your 2 minute story draft by 11:59 PM September 19th!
The goal of a “story of self” is to enable others to “get you.” The goal of a “story of us” is to enable others to “get each other”. We tell a “story of us” to move others to join with one in collective action based on values they share. It is not a “categorical” us - people who fit into a particular category. It is an “experiential” us – people who may share certain values, rooted in common experience. This “us” is rooted in the experience of the “people in the room.” It works when people feel part of an “us.” And we have all felt part of multiple “us’s” – like at a sporting event, a community dinner, a cultural observance. New communities, organizations, movements, nations, learn to tell very well developed stories of us, based on shared struggles, moments of choice, historical points of reference, etc. But the effectiveness test of a “story of us” is always right there in the room. The Rifkin video makes the point that our capacity of empathy is the foundation of our ability to experience “usness”. Brown shows how organizational “us’s” can be constructed. Cuoto and I show how new movements, based on newly salient values, develop new “stories of us” that link transformed individual “stories of self” to the broader change in the environment being pursued. We analyze how Shakespeare crafted a “story of us” told by young Henry V on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt, turning despair into hope. And we examine the challenges faced by Senator Robert Kennedy, delivering news of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King to an African-American audience in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 4th, 1968.
3. Debrief: Student Public Narrative: Jacquinette Brown
Thursday, September 26th, 2019 | Telling the Story of “Us”
Today we conduct our second section in storytelling. This time students focus on the “story of us” component of their public narrative. You are required to use the “story of us” worksheet to prepare for this class. Be certain to submit your 2 minute story draft by 11:59 PM September 26th!
Tuesday, October 1st, 2019 | Telling Stories of Now
We tell a “story of now” to move others to choose to join us in response to an urgent challenge to our shared values with purposeful action. This requires finding the courage to create tension, elicit sources of hope, and risk failure. The story of now grows out of the “story of self” and the “story of us” that create the ground for it. But it also shapes the “story of self” and “story of us” that precede it. We become “characters” in a story unfolding now: we face a challenge, we hope for an outcome, but it all depends on what we choose to do – now! Polichak and Gerrig help us understand how it is we it is we experience the content of a well told story, the source of its motivational force. Maddux explains the relationship between belief in our own capacity to make something happen, and, in fact, our capacity to make it happen. We’ll analyze a video of how Harvey Milk evokes both urgency and hope in a few short minutes. Ben Kingsley’s interpretation of one of Gandhi’s first “story of now” moments in South Africa, focuses on what it looks like to make a choice not only urgent, but real.
Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 | Telling Stories of Now
Today we conduct our third workshop in storytelling. This time students focus on the “story of now” component of their public narrative. You are required to use the “story of now” worksheet to prepare for this class. Be certain to submit your 2 minute story draft by 11:59 PM Wednesday October 2nd!
Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 | Telling Public Stories
Today we discuss how to link one’s story of self, story of us, and story of now. A story that links all the elements may begin with a “challenge” drawn from the story of now, end with the “choice” called for in the story of now, with the story of self and us in between. We’ll revisit James Croft’s public narrative to look at it with a different set of eyes, with a focus on lessons useful for preparation of your own story. Remember, public narrative usually ends with the words, “So join me in . . .”
Thursday, October 10th, 2019 | Telling Public Stories
In this workshop, we practice linking one’s story of self, story of us, and story of now. We also reflect on key learning during the module and evaluate our work together in section. Please use the “linking” worksheet to prepare. Be certain to submit your 5 minute story draft by 11:59 PM Wednesday October 9th!
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019 | Telling Public Stories
Students present their 5 minute final public narrative to their classmates in section
Thursday, October 17th, 2019 | Telling Public Stories
Students present their 5 minute final public narrative to their classmates in section
Friday, October 18th, 2019 | New Stories for a New Era
In this final class of the module, we reflect on the ground we have covered since we began. What have we learned about public narrative? Have we learned how to tell our public story? What will be our narrative of the class? How can understanding public narrative equip us for challenges in our own lives – and in our own times? We conclude, as we began, with Bruner, in one of his more expansive reflections on the “uses of story” in life.
Tuesday, October 15Th and Thursday, October 17th– Video Tape in Sections of Final Personal Narrative
Friday, October 18Th: Final Class Meeting, Starr Auditorium, 2:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Wednesday, October 23rd: Final 3-page ANALYTIC PAPER due by 5PM EST. Submit by e-mail to your TF
Public Narrative: Self, Us, Now Page of Fall 2018