Scary Stories at Summer Camp: A Tradition of Gendered Education and Community

Sara Kaplan- Cunnningham (University of Houston)

A prominent memory from my childhood was listening to and telling legends, which at the time our group called “scary stories.” The acquisition of these stories took place at a summer camp I attended between first and second grade. Drawing on my own memories and observations, this self-survey examines how the tradition of sharing scary stories assumed certain ritual forms that served to simultaneously educate the participants about gender-roles and build a gender-based community. My attempts to share the ‘same’ stories in other contexts lost purpose and impact when separated from the all-female community in which I first learned them.

Part of V2-04 Belief and Bonding: Three Insider Explorations of Community Narrative and Ritual, Wednesday, October 11, 3:30 pm–5:30 pm