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The Power of Public Narratives: Insights From Dr. Kylie Fisher

Last updated April 19, 2024

By Robert Mullikin

Public narratives, those ubiquitous stories shaping our collective understanding, are more than just tales. They’re the threads weaving through the fabric of our society, influencing perceptions, beliefs and even the course of history itself. In a recent episode of the Go Further podcast by Furman’s Office of Graduate Studies, Dr. Kylie Fisher, a distinguished professor in the Master of Arts in Advocacy and Equity Studies program, delved into the intricate world of public narratives, shedding light on their significance and the critical skills needed to navigate them effectively.

Dr. Kylie Fisher

At the core of Dr. Fisher’s discussion lies the essence of public narratives—those widely disseminated stories that support our common beliefs and perceptions. These narratives, often institutionalized through cultural entities like museums and libraries, carry a sense of authority and credibility. However, Dr. Fisher urges us to look beyond the surface, to dissect these narratives, and to examine the perspectives and agendas shaping them.

Drawing from her background in art history, Dr. Fisher emphasizes the active role of objects and images in shaping narratives. Rather than passive reflections, these objects become dynamic agents, influencing how we perceive history and culture. From murals to monuments, art plays a pivotal role in shaping our collective memory, bridging different communities and historical events.

Yet, public narratives aren’t without their pitfalls. While they can celebrate resilience and promote inclusivity, they also have the potential to marginalize and oppress certain voices. In an age where misinformation spreads at the click of a button, discerning the truth becomes paramount. Dr. Fisher advocates for a thoughtful approach, urging us to question the source, perspective and motives behind the narratives we encounter.

In her course, students embark on a journey of inquiry, learning to decode and challenge the narratives surrounding them. Through projects and discussions, they hone their visual literacy skills, deciphering the layers of meaning embedded in images and texts. More importantly, they emerge as advocates for diverse voices, amplifying stories that have long been silenced by institutional bias.

Ultimately, Dr. Fisher’s class empowers students to become critical consumers of information, capable of uncovering hidden narratives and celebrating stories of resilience and humanity. In a world where public narratives have immense power, the ability to discern truth from fiction becomes not just a skill, but of utmost importance. As we navigate the complexities of our society, this critical awareness will guide us toward a more inclusive and just future.

If exploring the intricacies of public narratives and advocating for inclusivity resonate with your academic aspirations, consider applying to Furman University’s Master of Arts in Advocacy and Equity Studies program. Delve deeper into the world of public narratives and equip yourself with the tools to challenge conventional wisdom and amplify marginalized voices. To learn more about this transformative program and hear from inspiring educators like Dr. Kylie Fisher, tune in to the “Go Further” podcast episode, “Dr. Kylie Fisher – Public Narratives.”