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Beth Jane Toren

Location: West Virginia University

Beth Jane Toren, Interdisciplinary and Films Studies Librarian at West Virginia University, taught Film and Media Literacy for over 10 years. She is currently teaching Storytelling with Archives, an Honors course where students follow a syllabus based on the Hero's Journey and channel their inner Katniss Everdeen or Loki from Thor. Immersed in the study and practice of storytelling from fairy tales to world building, students ultimately use historical archives including photos, music, oral history and personally conducted interviews to build fictional stories of West Virginia steeped in deep historical context and celebrated at the Vandalia County Storytelling Festival, Our project will showcase that our students’ practice of world building is founded in scholarly research and historical empathy. It will be openly available for people to explore online. This exploration of multiple voices and stories will create conversations across geographical and disciplinary boundaries about new ways to visualize and imagine Appalachia in general and West Virginia in particular.


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