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    Read more about Teaching Autoethnography: Personal Writing in the Classroom

    Teaching Autoethnography: Personal Writing in the Classroom

    (14 reviews)

    Melissa Tombro, The Fashion Institute of Technology

    Copyright Year:

    ISBN 13: 9781942341284

    Publisher: Open SUNY

    Language: English

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    Learn more about reviews.

    Reviewed by Eleanor Binnings, Adjunct faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 3/23/24

    I find the book comprehensive for as Tombro points out in the Introduction: "We can combine writing intensive assignments with community engagement and analysis of positionality to create a holistic education model." Holistic education gives the... read more

    Reviewed by Miriam Gershow, Senior Instructor II, University of Oregon on 9/2/23

    The comprehensiveness of this text is its strength. It offers an abundance of resources for teachers and students, including a background of autoethnography in composition studies, a clear and comprehensive explanation/rationale of how Tombro... read more

    Reviewed by Matthew Chelf, Adjunct Instructor, Portland Community College on 6/12/21

    I found this text comprehensive in its treatment of autoethnography, writing about the ‘self’ through diverse narrative techniques, research, and a cultural lens. The text provides readings, prompts, and assignments designed to get students to... read more

    Reviewed by Tommy Ender, Assistant Professor, Rhode Island College on 12/3/20

    Excellent! read more

    Reviewed by David Stringham, Associate Professor, James Madison University on 7/31/20

    In context of its purpose (“to present a unified approach to using personal writing and qualitative inquiry, specifically autoethnography, in the first-year writing classroom”), this text seems comprehensive. (I offer that assessment with the... read more

    Reviewed by Debra Hagan, Visiting Lecturer, Massachusetts College of Art and Design on 6/25/20

    This textbook is aimed at the liberal arts/English professor who is developing a writing course for students who will be analyzing and researching “the self” through a cultural lens. Tombro explains how lifestyle, culture, and belief systems... read more

    Reviewed by Roxanne Bourque, Senior Instructor, ULL on 11/9/19

    In this textbook, M. Tombro presents the practice of teaching personal writing in the classroom as one way to motivate students to explore qualitative inquiry. This book can be used as a comprehensive guide to practice ethnographic and... read more

    Reviewed by Jocelyn Wenona Armes, Graduate Part-time Instructor, CU Boulder on 7/1/19

    This text is intended as a teaching aid for instructors of college students to learn how to use autoethnographic composition in writing and research. To the extent that it is not a textbook for teaching qualitative methodology, or directed toward... read more

    Reviewed by Abram Himelstein, Professor of Practice, University of New Orleans on 5/21/18

    This book feels like a manual on how to run this kind of workshop for students- and it feels complete in this effort. I would say that it is comprehensive, anticipating the questions that will arise as teachers and students wrestle with the... read more

    Reviewed by Joni Schwartz, Associate Professor, City University of New York - LaGuardia on 2/1/18

    Very comprehensive - beginning with ideas and suggestions for the first day of meeting with writing students to a well-thought out progression of instruction. Defining of terms and placing personal narrative and the "I" squarely in the context of... read more

    Reviewed by Priya Kapoor, Associate Professor, Portland State University on 2/15/17

    Teaching Autoethnography is a comprehensive book. The author is very familiar with extant and historical debates in the field of pedagogy (of writing) and qualitative research (ethnography and auto-ethnography in particular). Melissa Tombro is... read more

    Reviewed by Molly Gray, Instructor, Portland State University on 2/8/17

    Overall, this textbook offers much utility in its approach to teaching thoughtful autoethnography in college-level writing. The author's approach is rooted and can be applied to many intersectional social identities, which is helpful in using... read more

    Reviewed by Jill Zarestky, Assistant Professor, Colorado State University on 12/5/16

    This text is comprehensive in the sense that it includes everything an instructor would need to know to implement student autoethnographic writing in the classroom, but it is also very narrow and would not appeal to instructors who teach other... read more

    Reviewed by Deborah Thompson, Associate Professor, Colorado State University on 12/5/16

    The text's primary aim is to serve as a guide for instructors teaching "autoethnography" or "personal writing" in the (composition) classroom. In a somewhat dry but thorough introductory literature review, Tombro surveys current conversations... read more

    Table of Contents

    • 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

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    About the Book

    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.

    About the Contributors


    Melissa Tombro is an Associate Professor of English at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for her work on a wide range of courses from Creative Nonfiction to Theatre Arts. Her research interests include autoethnography, ethnography, personal writing, creative writing and performance studies. Outside of FIT she runs volunteer writing workshops for at-risk and underserved populations through the New York Writers Coalition. In her writing, teaching and volunteer work, she encourages other writers to use self-reflection and community engagement as a way to create meaningful, informed, and inspiring prose.

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