Family Secrets in Contemporary Memoirs
Join cultural historian Lori Rotskoff online for this all-new, interactive book discussion series. Explore four contemporary memoirs (all published in 2020) that revolve around family secrets. In these stories, authors discover new information about their family backgrounds—about matters of profound consequence in their parents’ and /or grandparents’ lives—that were previously obscured or hidden from them.

During four class sessions, explore questions such as: how much do we know (or not know) about the parents who raised us? Why do some writers endeavor to “solve the puzzle” of a family mystery, and then craft a literary narrative for publication? What insights do they offer about shame, privacy, and disclosure; the development of personal identity; the complexity of parent-child relationships; and the desire for social belonging? Other themes include aging and cognitive impairment; the bonds of marriage (or, perhaps, the ruptures of separation); race and African-American social history, the legacy of the Holocaust; immigration and ethnic identity, religion, and more.

Please read the book What We Carry by Maya Shanbhag Long before the first class session on Wed. 3/24.

Additional books include:

Say I’m Dead by E. Delores Johnson

Missed Translations by Sopan Deb

House of Glass by Hadley Freeman

Status Registration Available
Course Code DL111S21
Session Spring 2021
Category Discussions & Lectures
Days 4 Wednesdays
Dates Class Dates: 3/24, 4/7, 4/21, 5/5
Times 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
# of Classes 4
Location Online Class, ZOOM
Fee $100


Lori Rotskoff is a cultural historian, author, and teacher at Continuing Education programs in Westchester County and NYC. She earned a PhD in American Studies at Yale and has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Yale, and the Barnard Center for Research on Women.





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