Staging the Shadow: Writing, Academic Subjectivities, and Hidden Selves

  • John Lionel Hoben Assistant Professor Memorial University
  • Cecile Badenhorst Associate ProfessorFaculty of EducationMemorial University
  • Sarah Pickett Assistant ProfessorFaculty of EducationMemorial University
Keywords: writing, academic integrity, poetry, poetic inquiry, Jungian and post-Jungian perspectives


In this paper we explore our writing selves through the metaphors of concealment and display. We discovered the metaphoric possibilities opened up by Jung’s notions of persona and shadow and his emphasis on a rich psychic life that was animated by archetypes and symbolic meaning. This process helped us to glimpse alternative selves, that somehow live within us but are, like the shadow, neglected or pushed aside either due to institutional pressures to conceal or due to our own self-concept and our preferences for displaying certain identity types. Using poetic inquiry to access our unconscious feelings, we engaged in a process of writing that resulted in poetry and poetic vignettes. This type of arts-based practice helped us to disrupt the normative rationalist expectations surrounding academic work and intellectual production, and enabled us to create a space where agency and self-exploration were more accessible and transformative.

Author Biographies

John Lionel Hoben, Assistant Professor Memorial University

John Hoben, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Memorial University’s Faculty of Education. A former practicing lawyer, in 2007 he was awarded a Canada Graduate Scholarship (Doctoral) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada to conduct a study of teacher censorship. He is also an award-winning poet who researches how poetry and narrative can be used to provide insights about culture and identity.

Cecile Badenhorst, Associate ProfessorFaculty of EducationMemorial University

Cecile Badenhorst, PhD is an Associate Professor in Adult /Post-Secondary Education, Memorial University, Canada. Her interests are doctoral education, thesis/publication writing pedagogies, academic literacies, and faculty writing. She engages in qualitative, arts-based, and post-structural research methodologies. She has written three books in the area of graduate student writing.

Sarah Pickett, Assistant ProfessorFaculty of EducationMemorial University

Sarah Pickett, PyD is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education, Memorial University Newfoundland, Canada and a Registered Psychologist. Her interests are affirmative sexuality and gender practice and pedagogy in education and healthcare. She engages in narrative and autoethnographic research methodologies with a focus on how researchers use these methods to foster evocative conversations in professional and disciplinary contexts.


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