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Fragmented Whole: Lessons from Creative, Critical, and Contemplative Approaches to Autoethnographic and Narrative Writing
Kakali Bhattacharya, University of Florida
While it is well established that the personal is political through the works of feminists of color, it is essential to note that the personal, political, and professional are deeply entangled. Those located at these entangled points find it necessary to fragment themselves due to multiple interconnected forces of oppression. Within academia, such fragmentation creates separation in our interiority, leading to a performativity that does not always integrate the cognitive, affective, and spiritual aspects of our realities and experiences. In this workshop, I will trace my journey of lessons learned when I engaged in calling back the fragmented parts through creative, critical, and contemplative approaches for myself and other academics whom I mentored. Workshop attendees will experience some features of this journeying through interactive, embodied exercises and resources to take home to deepen their inner journeys and epiphanies. In a world that is becoming more divisive politically, religiously, economically and a terrain of higher education that is fraught and lumpy, it is critical that we create a presence that is agentic, grounded, and as unfragmented as possible, so that we may forge complex frameworks of solidarities across different identities, agendas, and bring forth much needed healing of the individual and collective mind, body, and spirit.
Collaborative Writing as Inquiry
Jonathan Wyatt, University of Edinburgh
This workshop takes up Braidotti’s proposition to explore how collaborative writing “like breathing, [is] not held into the mould of linearity, or the confines of the printed page, but move[s] outwards, out of bounds, in webs of encounters with ideas, others, texts” (Braidotti, 2013, p. 166). In other words, it will work with the view that collaborative writing as inquiry is a political act, a “minor gesture” (Manning, 2016), a world-making that opens up to the new and challenges the sedimented; an ‘act of activism’ (Madison, 2010).
I will provide participants with the opportunity both to engage with – and perhaps engage in – collaborative writing. We will work with ideas of what collaborative writing as inquiry might be, with what it can do, and consider its potential as activist research and pedagogic practice.
I will talk through examples of key collaborative writing texts, approaches and scholars (e.g. Jane Speedy, Bronwyn Davies, Susanne Gannon) and offer practical suggestions, including concerning the ethics of collaborative inquiry.
Braidotti, R. (2013). The Posthuman. Cambridge: Polity.
Madison, S. D. (2010) Acts of activism: Human rights as radical performance, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Manning, E. (2016). The minor gesture. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Weaving Together Research, Poetics and the Personal
Marquese McFerguson, Florida Atlantic University
This workshop offers participants the opportunity to explore the ways in which autoethnographers and musicians who create autoethnographic compositions use poetry and poetics (extended metaphors, repetition, imagery, etc.) to strengthen their writing, paint vivid pictures for their audiences, and create evocative narratives that examine personal lived experiences through a social, political, and cultural lens. By studying how these writers use poetics, and participating in scripted writing exercises, workshop participants will increase the stylistic approaches/possibilities they have at their disposal when creating autoethnographic research and learn strategies to enhance their creativity during the writing process.
Duoautoethnography as Perspective by Incongruity
Critiques of autoethnography have often labeled the method ‘navel-gazing’ – a term meant to demean autoethnographic scholarship as being fraught with self-aggrandizing gestures that reveal personal truths instead of communal knowledge. As scholar/activists who have both written duoautoethnographies and were trained as rhetoricians, we see the benefits of intertwining the two methods (autoethnography and rhetorical studies) as a way to create a space that highlights the evocative nature of narrative inquiry. Specifically in this workshop, we will dive into Kenneth Burke’s notion of Perspective by Incongruity. Burke (1941) defines this as “a rational prodding or coaching of language so as to see around the corner of everyday usage” (p. 400). Put simply, Perspective by Incongruity places two different (potentially oppositional) stances into conversation so as to create a third space of understanding. We see duoautoethnography (DAE) as a mechanism to achieve what Burke set out to generate with Perspective by Incongruity. As such, we define DAE as a juxtaposition of individual narratives, brought together to “see around the corner” of a lone perspective. In doing so, we can use autoethnography not as a tool of criticism, but as an approach to bring us closer to a communal knowledge.
This workshop will first elucidate a (brief) understanding of Perspective by Incongruity; in particular, how it relates to duoautoethnography as method and practice. We will then guide participants through a series of activities and shared interactions meant to produce new insight into their own experience. Finally, we will share practical advice for utilizing this approach as a research tool and publication method.