Hart Cohen

As methodology, AutoEthnography invokes a transdisciplinary body of knowledge that informs how your research plays out across a network of sources. AE embraces theoretical frameworks which underpin the research decisions about the researcher’s range of choices and desires: not so much what to study; who to study; where to study; but which research traditions to explore and how to find a line of inquiry to unify disparate and sometimes fragmented themes.

Image of Self

Rubric for seminar on “Auto/ethnography as Method”

  • Hart Cohen
  • Rachel Morley
  • Emily Rytmeister
  • Mel Macarthur
  • Ramona Kennedy
  • Naomi McCarthy
  • Dawne Fahey

The seminar is planned for October 23, 1:00– 2:00 PM on ZOOM (Link TBC)

The motivation for this seminar is based on the many HDR candidates we supervise who are engaged with work related to or specific to using autoethnography (AE). We focus on the idea of autoethnography as method, while recognising that this may not be the only way students are using or have used this concept in their thesis and/or project.

What seems apparent is that the growth in AE is related to the emergence of memoir and related genres where “intimate scholarship” (Strom, Mills and Owens: 2018) and self-reflexive examinations have proliferated. Frequently, these works were subsumed under the term “autobiography”, however the genre limiting features of autobiography seemed less able to cope with the greater theoretical and methodological perspectives demanded of the subject matter when linked to self-exploration and self-reflection and the utilisation of creative practice in scholarly pursuits. With AE, understood in its connection to anthropology, the use of ethnography is seen as a means of opening up the full gamut of relationships that operate with and beyond the self. Linked emphatically to creative practices (writing, visual and aural) that may characterise a research approach, AE engages with the broad themes of story-telling in travelling on both philosophical and imagined journeys of life and art.

We hope this seminar will be of use in both student and staff members’ ongoing work.

The presentations will include introductions by Hart and Rachel followed by presentations by each of the HDR candidates. The presentation will focus on how we see AE working into our work. As not all candidates are at the same point in their studies, it is expected that these presentations may be speculative and provisional.

The following order of presentations is proposed:

  • 1:00 Hart: Welcome and introduction (10 minutes)
  • 1:05 Rachel Morley: An Experience of Autoethnography as Method (10 Minutes)
  • 1:10: Emily Rytmeister: Roger Frampton Comes Alive (10 Minutes)
  • 1:20: Mel Macarthur: Of Cancer and Other Things: Conversations with the Royal Philosopher on Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella (10 minutes)
  • 1:30: Ramona Kennedy: Impacts of Immersive Cross-cultural Experience on Personal Transformation: An Autoethnographic Approach to Writing Creative Non-fiction (10 minutes)
  • 1:40 Naomi McCarthy: On the Road to Damascus: Theorising Transformational Encounters in Art Galleries and Museums (10 minutes)
  • 1:50 Dawne Fahey: Visualising Empathy: An Alchemist in the Landscape (10 minutes)
  • 2:00 Discussion
  • Wrap and Close

Select Bibliography

  • Ruth Behar, The Vulnerable Observer
  • Laura Bowen, (1954) Return to Laughter Gollanz: Virginia
  • Margret Mead, (1972) Blackberry Winter: My Earlier Years. New York: Kodansha International.
  • Eddie Ayers, Danger Music (2019; on processing a personal journey of change through cross-cultural immersion)
  • Meera Atkinson, Traumata (2019); and/or The Poetics of Intergenerational Trauma
  • Elizabeth Ettore (2016)Autoethnography as Feminist Method: Sensitising the feminist I
  • Sarah Wall (2008) ‘Easier Said than Done: Writing an Autoethnography’ , International Journal of Qualitative Methods
  • Laurel Richardson (1997), Fields of Play: Constructing an Academic Life
  • Handbook of Autoethnography (2013)
  • Chau Vu, New Materialist Auto-ethnography: Agential-Realist Authenticity and Objectivity in Intimate Scholarship in Strom, K., Mills, T., & Ovens, A. (Eds.). (2018). Decentering the researcher in intimate scholarship: Critical posthuman methodological perspectives in education.
  • Ellis, C 2004, The ethnographic I, a methodological novel about auto-ethnography, Altamira Press, Walnut Creek.
  • Ellis, C & Bochner, A 2016, Evocative Autoethnography: writing lives and telling stories, Routledge, New York.