Page length: 3-4 pages
Format: APA, MLA, or Chicago; 12-point font; 1” margins, Times New Roman font, in-text citations and references/works cited
Purpose: Familiarize student with course concepts re. privilege and power and also helping the student situate themselves within systems of power in
Autoethnography is a research method that uses a powerful personal narrative analysis to make theoretical claims about power in society. Our first paper will
involve analyzing a personal narrative in order to reach conclusions about our relation to power and privilege, esp. regarding our position and implication in
interlocking systems of privilege and oppression.
• For this assignment you will first complete all upcoming readings on intersectionality (McIntosh, Crossley-Corcoran), power, and privilege as well as review
Braving the Wilderness.
• Next, you will identify a powerful instance (or multiple instances from your life, deliberately chosen and woven together as a narrative) that relates to your
becoming aware of privilege, power, and intersectionality.
• Describe this instance in about a page and a half, as if you were telling a story (no theoretical concepts or citations in this part of the paper), establishing
the context for your personal and cultural identity, and your entanglement in systems of power.
• Next, set up your thesis for the essay and discuss how 3 concepts from the readings above best illustrate and/or challenge your personal narrative about
power in society.
• Using the three concepts, discuss:
– how you saw/see power operating in your life in that particular instance,
– how it relates to your position within systems of power more generally,
– how that position within systems of power benefits you and hurts you,
– how you think your positioning within interlocking systems of power might impact your involvement in processes and practices of social change.
• Conclude with a summary of your thesis and your insights.
Remember to construct a personal narrative that best speaks to the concepts/themes of class.
Think of this story as being the one defining story you might tell someone about why social change is necessary, using your own story as a text (an example).
This isn’t a readymade story that you will easily be able to recall on demand but one that is carefully constructed out of single powerful or multiple instances
where you saw yourself implicated in systems of power.
The best essays will not only discuss oppression (we are able to better see how we are oppressed by the system) but also clearly show how the
autoethnographer benefited from their position. This requires imagining someone that may be less privileged than you and examining how your particular
position also afforded you some privilege even though you may not have been aware of it at the time the events unfolded.
You’re strongly encouraged to discuss your narrative with me before beginning your paper.