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Susan Bennett on
Autoethnography Updated: 07/01/04

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Susan Bennett's Workshop


Autoethnography: Writing about the Self Analytically

Definition of Culture: any group that shares common language, values, habits,
mores, activities, beliefs, etc. Most 21st Century Americans have multiple cultural
affiliations.

Examples of Culture: religious groups, ethnic groups, racial groups,


nationalities, occupations, genders, political parties, recreational groups,
socioeconomic groups, clubs, behavioral groups, chronological groups, etc.

San Antonio, TX | March 2004 | T. Duckart


An autoethnography is:

l An analytical/objective personal account


l About the self/writer as part of a group or culture
l Often a description of a conflict of cultures
l Often an analysis of being different or an outsider
l Usually written to an audience not a part of the group
l An attempt to see self as others might
l An opportunity to explain differences from the inside
l Sometimes a traditional essay answering the five Ws
l Sometimes a typical essay with topic sentences and three to five supporting
examples
l Always an attempt to explain one element of self to other
l An explanation of how one is "othered"

An autoethnography is not:

l A traditional personal narrative


l A single event, incident, or experience
l Written to the self as the major audience
l A simple description or story

Prewriting Activity:

l List up to ten cultures in which you participate or have participated.


l Underline those cultures which do or could conflict with the mainstream

http://www.humboldt.edu/%7ecpf/autoethnography.html 21.6.2009 г.
Susan Bennett on Autoethnography Page 2 of 2

culture in which you live.


l Put an asterisk next to those cultures in which you choose/chose to
participate.
l Put a different symbol next to those cultures into which you were born.
l Choose one of the cultures which has an underline and list as many specific
characteristics of that culture as you can.
l Freewrite on ways in which that culture has been stereotyped. What kind of
prejudices are exercised against this group? What are some common
preconceptions about it?
l List three to five incidents or examples that serve to illustrate how or why
identification with that culture has influenced you as a person.

Please secure Dr. Bennett's permission before reproducing any portion of this page.
Thank you.

Professor Susan G. Bennett, Ph.D.


English Department
Humboldt State University
Arcata, CA 95521-8299
707.826.3758
sgb1@humboldt.edu
Tracy Duckart | Acting Director of Composition, Webmistress | 707.826.5958
Barbara Goldberg | University Writing Center Director, Developmental Writing Coordinator |
707.826.4442
Nicolette Amann | Writing Confidence Course Leader | 707.826.3318

http://www.humboldt.edu/%7ecpf/autoethnography.html 21.6.2009 г.

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