Learning objective: Integrate theory and content learning by developing and completing a comprehensive communication project.
In COM668, Autoethnography with Dr. Pupchek, I developed and completed a comprehensive autoethnography. In “Grass of my Past,” I demonstrated how a pastime, such as soccer, can facilitate connect between father-daughter in spite of drastically changing circumstances.
COM668 taught me that a method can be the theory. One’s own writings can be data. Introspection is a means of inquiry and a process that is emotional and disciplined.
With the support of Dr. Pupchek, I was fortunate enough to present my project at the Carolinas Communication Association (CCA) conference in Charleston during the fall of 2015. Prior to the CCA conference, I had attended one other academic conference, on autoethnography, with Dr. Pupchek and Rhonda Stewart. This conference, in San Angelo, Texas in the spring of 2015, was an excellent forum to see all types of autoethnographies and understand what makes some autoethnographies more successful than others.
Autoethnography as a method tends to receive criticism for being perceived as lacking discipline and scholarly value. During my presentation at the CCA conference, I did encounter some of this criticism. However, the positive comments and feedback from professors and students overwhelmed any skepticism.
The attendees appreciated the personal touch of my project and the potential application to the lives of their students, many of whom grew up playing competitive sports. The audience could see themselves and those they knew in my project and relate to my experiences.
My writing was relatable, knowable, and evocative, which is the hallmark of a good autoethnography.