Autoethnographic methods: Building reflexivity through critical and collaborative arts-based practice

Course description:

The course explores autoethnography as a main or supplemental mindset and method. Students will gain insight into the ontological, epistemological, and ethical premises of autoethnography. Course themes include collaborative autoethnography; embodiment; autoethnography and intergenerational memory; autoethnography as a lens to engage with more-than-human entities; and decolonial potentialities. We unlock these themes by applying the prism of arts-based approaches.

Consequently, the course focuses on building the ability to conduct autoethnographic reflections through active text and audio-visual production. There will be group workshop time for experimentation with writing and arts-based approaches to autoethnography. Autoethnography covers well-known sociological and humanistic methods for critical-reflexive introspection on the researcher’s role and construction of relations with others. It offers rich narrative, visual and performative approaches for linking personal experience with the larger cultural phenomena being studied. It emphasizes the importance of both recognizing and including one’s own experiences and subjective understandings at all phases of the research project, including building ethnographic stories. Common to autoethnographic approaches is that the researcher reflects on their presence in the field and in the text by using a first-person narration.

Autoethnographic texts cut across multiple genres and media, e.g. from poetry, short stories, journalistic accounts, or visualizations (e.g. still photos, drawings), to performances, or videos.