Reading homework help. Autoethnography Assignment:
Autoethnography is a form of self-reflection and writing that explores the researcher’s personal experience and connects this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings. It differs from ethnography —a qualitative research method in which a researcher uses participant observation and interviews in order to gain a deeper understanding of a group’s culture— in that autoethnography focuses on the writer’s subjective experience in interaction with the beliefs and practices of others.
Assignment: (Final Draft: 2,000 words or more). Supplementing the text with visual images such as photographs, drawings, or relevant scanned documents is encouraged but not required.
For this project, you will write an autoethnography. An autoethnography can draw on a range of methods—such as memory, artifact analysis, interviews, observation, journaling and secondary research—to explore some aspect of your own identity that can be placed into a larger sociological context. For example, people have written autoethnographies about their participation in a particular subculture or online fan group, about becoming musicians or artists, about their involvement in sports careers that have been ended by injury, about being adopted children, about their experience of a crisis situation, about living with an illness or handicap…
Once you have settled on a topic for your autoethnography, you will generate a personal narrative about this topic. In addition to memory and the use of possible artifacts (such as photographs or diaries) to give further credence to these memories, you should incorporate secondary sources for context and/or a critical lens as well as at least one other research method—interviews and/or direct observation of a physical or online fieldsite.
Your target audience is your peers or professors; imagine this as an article intended for a student research journal or magazine such as The Journal of Undergraduate Ethnography or WRIT Large (the magazine published by DU’s Writing Program). You can organize your paper in whatever way makes sense to you but it should include the following components: 1) a detailed personal narrative 2) contextualization of the topic and previous research about this topic through three or more credible secondary sources, with at least two scholarly sources such as peer reviewed journal articles or books 3) incorporation of interviews and/or fieldwork observation of a physical or virtual space.
Evaluation Rubric:
I. Well-Focused and Engaging Personal Narrative: Does the autoethnography contain a well-focused and engaging personal narrative that explores the researcher’s experience and connects the autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings?
II. Effective Use of Secondary Sources: Does the author contextualize and/or theorize the autoethnography through three or more credible sources, with at least two scholarly sources such as peer reviewed journal articles or books? Using a larger number of sources is recommended for fully exploring the cultural, political, and/or social meanings of the autoethnography. Are these sources correctly cited through MLA in-text citations and a final MLA Works Cited list?
III. Interviews and/or Observation of a Physical or Virtual Fieldsite. In further developing the autoethnography through additional forms of research, does the author make effective use of interviews and/or direct observation of a physical or virtual fieldsite?
IV. Organization, Cohesion, Mechanics, Style: Is the autoethnography clearly organized, cohesive, and mechanically correct? Is it stylistically engaging for the intended audience of peers and professors?
Possible Topics for an Autoethnography: Note: This is not a complete list; you may think of other areas that you would prefer to pursue for your autoethnography instead.
1. Cultural Heritage: This may include ethnicity or immigrant identity such as Chicana/o, Asian American, African American, Native American, immigrant/multilingual identity…
2. Family Structure and Relationships: This could involve being an adopted child, only child, member of a single parent household, member of a military family…You could even focus on relationships within a family or larger group between people and pets or domestic animals…
3. Gender and Sexual Orientation: This could include identification with the LGBT community, experience of gender discrimination, or gender non-conforming identities…
4. Student Experience: This could include, for example, the experience of being an international student, a first-generation student, or a student athlete…
5. Career, Hobby, or Job: You could explore your identity as a musician, athlete, actor, artist, scientist, etc. Alternately, you could relate a negative work experience, such as minimum wage labor…
6. Fandom: This could involve membership in a subculture connected with a type of music, sport, or online game…
7. Dealing with Illness, Disability, Trauma, or Crisis: This could include, for example, anxiety and depression, addiction, blindness, living through a crisis such as COVID 19 or a natural disaster…
Sample Autoethnographies: (Note: In some cases, when you follow the link, you will need to download the available full text PDF. If any of these links don’t work for you, just type in the author’s name and title keywords into a Google Scholar search. This will take you to a free link to the article.)
Abd-Rahimm, Atiquah “Online Fandom: Social Identity and Social Hierarchy of Hallyu Fans.”
Journal of Undergraduate Ethnography. Vol. 9, No 1. 2019, 65-81.
This undergraduate research paper examines participation in an online Hallyu fan group. It is a good example of doing fieldwork observation of an online space. The author combines personal experience as a Hallyu fan with online fieldwork and with research from secondary sources.
Chavez, Minerva. “Autoethnography, a Chicana’s Methodological Research Tool: The Role of
Storytelling for Those Who Have No Choice but to do Critical Race Theory.” Equity and Excellence in Education, 45(2), 334-348, 2012, 334-348.’s_Methodological_Research_Tool_The_Role_of_Storytelling_for_Those_Who_Have_No_Choice_but_to_do_Critical_Race_Theory
Drawing on personal narrative and secondary research, the author talks about her journey as a working-class Chicana first-generation college student. She addresses elements of her cultural heritage as well as encounters with the academy. This is one of many authoethnographies centering on cultural heritage and education.
Fox, Regan. “Are Those Germs in Your Pocket, Or Am I Just Crazy to See You: An
Autoethnographic Consideration of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.” Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 20(8), 2014, 966-975.
Drawing on personal experience and secondary research, this article is an example of a growing number of autoethnographies centered on illness or disability. The author theorizes his struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder, addressing serious issues while using an often humorous writing style. This type of autoethnography is of particular interest to the medical community, to other people who might be struggling with similar issues, or to anybody interested in mental health issues.
Guetzinger, Brian. “An Orchestra of Many.” Writ Large. University of Denver, 2016.
An Orchestra of Many: How the Colorado Symphony Stays in Tune with the Times
This is a WRIT 1133 student ethnography published in the DU Writing Program’s student magazine Writ Large. Although not strictly an autoethnography, the author is an insider to the classical music subculture and he combines personal narrative with interviews and secondary sources to explore classical music and what it takes to make this into a career.
Herrmann, Andrew. “Communication and Ritual at the Comic Book Shop.” Journal of
Organizational Ethnography, June 2018, 2-18.
This autoethnography was performed at a local comic book shop, connecting communicative and ritual practices to organizational culture, hegemonic masculinity, geek culture and personal identity. Drawing on personal narrative and secondary research, the author explores his comic book fandom.
Jones, Bethan. 2014. “Written on the Body: Experiencing Affect and Identity in My
Fannish Tattoos.” In “Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom,” edited by Bob Rehak, special issue, Transformative Works and Culture No. 16, 2014.
In this article, the author explores the meaning behind her tattoos through personal narrative, photographs, and secondary research. Her research tattoos in the context of fan subcultures and is part of the larger body of research that connects autoethnography to fan studies.
Malhotra, Prema. “An Autoethnographic Journey of Intercountry Adoption.” The Qualitative
Report. Vol. 18, Article 63, 2013, 1-13.
In this autoethnographic essay, the author explores her struggles and desires to learn about her life prior to adoption. The essay combines personal narrative, diary entries, and extensive secondary research. It is one of many autoethnographies centering on family structure and relationships.
McNaughton, Melanie. “Insurrectionary Womanliness: Gender and the (Boxing) Ring.” The
Qualitative Report, Vol. 17, 33, 1-13
Informed by gender theory, this autoethnography examines the author’s encounters with breaking traditional gender norms and her identity as a female boxer. This is one of a growing number of autoethnographies focusing on gender and sexuality. The author combines personal narrative with incorporation with secondary sources to provide context as well as a critical lens.
Parry, Keith. “Game of Two Passions: A Football Fan’s Autoethnography.” January 2014.’s_autoethnography
[Note: If this link does not work, just copy the author and title and paste into Google Scholar. It will connect you to a link.]
This is an example of a scholarly autoethnography centered on fan studies. Other studies of this type might examine other types of fandoms connected, for instance, with sports, music, games, comics, or books. In this fifteen-page article, the author incorporates his own personal narrative as well as diary entries, observations, and secondary research on fan studies.
Scarfe, S. and Marlow C. “Overcoming the Fear: An Autoethnographic Narrative of Running
with Epilepsy.” Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health 7(5), 688-697.
Drawing on personal narrative and secondary research, this autoethnography discusses the challenges of being a runner with epilepsy. The author explores her identity as an athlete and discusses how this identity continued to develop after she was diagnosed with epilepsy. It is one of many studies on athletics and disability.
Nguyen, Tram “A Journey of Cross-Cultural Adaptation: An Autoethnography of a Vietnamese
Graduate Student in the American Classroom.”
This is an example of an autoethnography centering on the author’s experience as an international student from Vietnam. This is a thesis and is long, but it is a good example of content and structure in writing about the international student experience. Other autoethnographies of this type might examine, for instance, other types of cross-cultural experiences, the experience of being a student athlete, or the experience of being a first-generation student.
Young, Stephanie. “Half and Half: An (Auto)ethnography of Hybrid Identities in a Korean
American Mother-Daughter Relationship”
[Note: If this link does not work, just copy the author and title and paste into Google Scholar. It will connect you to a link.]
This article examines the author’s identity as a second-generation Korean immigrant and her sense of a hybrid identity. The article combines personal narrative with interviews with her mother and secondary research. This is an excellent example of how personal narrative and interview-based research can be effectively combined in autoethnography.
Videos about the Ethnographic Process:
1) “My Ethnographic Project,” prepared by DU Professor Alejandro Ceron and three anthropology students: Centering on tattooing, music, food, and epidemiology involving people’s relationships to infected animals, these four short videos give excellent background to the ethnographic process and to what it’s like to develop a topic, to do ethnographic fieldwork, and to write about one’s ethnographic work.
2) “Conversations in the Disciplines,” April 2020. This video of our event from this quarter about ethnographic research contains talks by three ethnographers. Kelly Fayard talks about her work studying her own Native American culture. Alison Krogel talks about her ethnographic work on Quechua poetry and culture. Dinko Hanaan Dinko discusses his ethnography centering on water rights in Ghana.

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