You will write your autoethnography in three parts, each covering a different period of your life. I’ve explained each period below. Each part is worth 20 points.
Each part should be 3-4 pages, double-spaced, with a size 12 font.
Feel free to incorporate photos, drawings, poetry and other artistic elements.
An autoethnography is not simply an autobiography. In it you tell a story about your life, but with a heightened awareness of your social and cultural embeddedness: in a family, a home, a neighborhood, a school, ethnicity(s), possibly religion, political affiliations, gender identity and more.
An autoethnography connects the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, political and economic. In it you explore the significance and influence on you of people and events, those close to home as well as further afield. You look at yourself from a distance and try to see yourself as an artist or writer or filmmaker might see and portray you.
Your autoethnography can be informal and not ‘academic’. As in every assignment in this class, I want to hear your unique voice. You can include thoughts, feelings, fears, even dreams and imaginings. Use “I”. Avoid the passive voice.
An autoethnograph y is closer to literature than to an analytic essay. If you like, you can write in the present tense, as if you’re writing as the child you were. If you discover something new about your life as you write, comment on it.
You can experiment with your writing. Use quotations, dialogue, remembered conversations and stories. Books, songs, sayings can capture a time, place, relationship. If you like, you can use a largely visual format: tell your story with substantially captioned photos or drawings. Or, if you’re experienced at it, make a video.
Autoethnography Part Two: ages 9-18
As in Part 1, this is not simply an autobiography. In it you tell a story about your life, but with a heightened awareness of your place in the world around you.
As with Part 1, continue to think about how your parents’ struggles, desires and hopes, their values, opinions, politics, religion, and above all their expectations of you,
affected and continue to affect you.
As with Part 1, think about the emotional mood(s) of your home.
Think about your house; the music you heard; the role sports or religion or art or extended family played in your childhood.
Think about family gatherings, holiday celebrations, rites of passage.
Think about language and languages, bilingualism, language mixing and switching.
Think about family stories and occasions of storytelling.
You may have experienced racism, homophobia, serious illness, death, even war. Write about these.
What sense did you have of who you were, your identity, or multiple identities? To what extent did you feel part of ‘mainstream’ culture, your parents’ culture, ‘alternative’ culture or cultures?
Feel free to talk about drugs or alcohol if they played a role in your life during these years,about friendship, relationships, sexuality, work, nature, music, art.
Feel free to talk about your physical and emotional experience of puberty; menstruation.
Write about particular challenges you may have had to deal with, and about successes,
and things you’re proud of.