2018 AHDA fellow Sarah C. Bishop published a new book with Columbia University Press titled A Story to Save Your Life: Communication and Culture in Migrants' Search for Asylum. The book “offers new insight into the harrowing realities of seeking protection in the United States. Migrants fleeing persecution must reconstruct the details of their lives so governmental authorities can determine whether their experiences justify protection. However, Bishop shows, many factors influence whether an applicant is perceived as credible, from the effects of trauma on the ability to recount an experience chronologically to culturally rooted nonverbal behaviors and displays of emotion. For asylum seekers, harnessing the power of autobiographical storytelling can mean the difference between life and death.” Sarah designed this book project during her AHDA fellowship.
Sarah C. Bishop is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Baruch College, City University of New York. She is on the board of directors of Mixteca Organization, a nonprofit that supports immigrant communities in Brooklyn, and she serves as an expert witness in U.S. asylum hearings. She is also the author of Undocumented Storytellers: Narrating the Immigrant Rights Movement (2019) and U.S. Media and Migration: Refugee Oral Histories (2016).