Preserving Our Stories for Future Generations
What is Auto-Ethnography?
An auto-ethnography combines an autobiography with an ethnography. An autobiography is a story about one’s life told by the protagonist. Ethnography is an interdisciplinary analysis of lived experience. An auto-ethnography is a story about one’s life where the protagonist provides an interdisciplinary analysis of her/his lived experience.
Draw on your own life and educational experiences to tell the story of a transformational moment in your life. This moment can be a moment that you have lived through or a moment that you are currently living through. This moment can be a painful moment, and empowering moment or both. Choose a moment that has fundamentally shaped you as a human being. Speak honestly about your life from the heart. When you speak from your head speak to experience in your heart.
Your Autoethnography should:
- Be 5-7 pages (1,250 – 1,750 words)
- 12-point font, double spaced, times new roman
- Critically examine how your multiple racial, gender, class, and sexual identities (independent or in intersection) played out within your transformational experience and how your interactions with these sites have influenced your sense of self. (Divorced, White, Italian American, Heterosexual Female perspective)
- Incorporate any relevant readings or literature that has been covered in class to write this paper, citing at least 1 reading to analyze both the problems that you raise and the solutions that you propose. (I will tie this in myself)
Your Auto-ethnography should address the following 5 levels of analysis:
- Explicit – Tell your story, clearly and concisely. Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
- Implicit – In retrospect what is your personal analysis of this story. In hindsight, what lessons have you learned or are you learning from your transformational experience.
- Theoretical – How does a reading, song, poem, theater production, etc., explicitly relate to your story. Draw from the readings of oral history and environment as well as any outside reading that you feel are relevant. Cite at least 1 source. This source can be from an outside reading, poem, film, theater piece, song, etc. The goal of this level of analysis is to connect your story to a source outside of yourself.
- Interpretive – What is your emotional/heart response to this story? In what ways is your emotional/heart response relevant?
- Applicable – Based on your analysis, now what? How will this analysis and the lessons that you have learned from your transformational experience impact the way that you walk in the world?
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