Teaching Autoethnography: Personal Writing in the Classroom
Melissa Tombro
Education & Teaching
Teaching Autoethnography: Personal Writing in the Classroom

Teaching Autoethnography: Personal Writing in the Classroom is dedicated to the practice of immersive ethnographic and autoethnographic writing that encourages authors to participate in the communities about which they write. This book draws not only on critical qualitative inquiry methods such as interview and observation, but also on theories and sensibilities from creative writing and performance studies, which encourage self-reflection and narrative composition. Concepts from qualitative inquiry studies, which examine everyday life, are combined with approaches to the creation of character and scene to help writers develop engaging narratives that examine chosen subcultures and the author’s position in relation to her research subjects. The book brings together a brief history of first-person qualitative research and writing from the past forty years, examining the evolution of nonfiction and qualitative approaches in relation to the personal essay. A selection of recent student writing in the genre as well as reflective student essays on the experience of conducting research in the classroom is presented in the context of exercises for coursework and beyond. Also explored in detail are guidelines for interviewing and identifying subjects and techniques for creating informed sketches and images that engage the reader. This book provides approaches anyone can use to explore their communities and write about them first-hand. The methods presented can be used for a single assignment in a larger course or to guide an entire semester through many levels and varieties of informed personal writing.

Title Page
Table Of Contents
About the Book
Reviewer’s Notes
Teaching Autoethnography
1. Understanding our Students’ Relationship to “I”
2. Getting Started in the Classroom
3. Writing Essays for Class: The First Steps
4. Workshop and Peer Review Process
5. Memory/Character Essays
6. Writing about Spaces and Events
7. The Autoethnography Project
8. Choosing Topics for the Autoethnography
9. The Interview Process
10. Conducting Observations
11. Putting It All Together
12. Challenges of Personal Writing
13. Concluding Thoughts
14. Sample Class Schedule
15. Additional Readings on Autoethnography
Deep Observation Assignment: Eleven Examples
Rattling Thoughts
Southern Belle
The Battle
The Woman with the Purple Mat
David Everitt-Carlson
The Man
Colors, Lines, and Shapes
Angelic Atmosphere
Self-as-Character Assignment: Eight Examples
Unfortunate Truths
What I Never Thought
Past Midnight
Five Feet Mighty
Memory Assignment: Six Examples
The Curse
Memory of the Maine
A Memory of Mr. Oko
Inhale, Exhale
An Honest Living
Memory/Character Essay: Thirteen Examples
How to Survive
A Living Contradiction
Georgia on My Mind
To the Center
Growing Through Dirt
I Told You So
Genetic Disposition
Shomer Nagia
Brooklyn, Madness, Lust, Death, and the Apocalypse
The Job That You Want
The Space or Event Essay: Thirteen Examples
Daringly Different
Two Places, One Home
See the World
November First
Get a Grip
Room in the Back
Aging Not so Gracefully
There and Back Again: A Comic-Con Tale
Family Ties
The Autoethnography: Ten Examples
On Anarchism in New York
Allies, Advocates, Activists
Unicorny, the Only Way a Coder Will Define Rails
Friendship Is Magic
Gin and Tonic: A Look into the Subculture of Taxidermists
Don't Judge the Bible by Its Cover: An Honest Story with a Cliché Title
Autoethnography on Manhattan Drag
Steel Paradise: The Hardcore Metal Aesthetic
YouTube: Science Isn’t Just for Geeks Anymore
Works Cited
About the Author
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