HC221H - Latine/x Autoethnographies

Professor: Catalina de Onis

4.00 credits

  • CRN 22253: Tuesday & Thursday, 10:00am-11:20am @ CHA 201
  • CRN 25077: Tuesday & Thursday, 12:00pm-1:20pm @ CHA 201

Autoethnographies can function as theory, method, and narrative form to communicate one’s lived experiences in self-reflexive ways that connect to larger societal concerns and struggles. This communication takes shape in stories, poetry, and music, among many other creations. When employed by marginalized peoples, these efforts can generate discursive space using a “rhetoric of difference” that envisions and enacts individual and collective meaning making, resistance, and alternative world making (Flores, 1998). Amplifying and analyzing texts by women of color feminists to understand the complexities of Latine/x/a/o cultures and lives, this course critically centers reflections, arguments, and (counter)narratives, often referred to as testimonios. As embodied truth, this “theory in the flesh” challenges oppressive systems and structures and the discourses, arguments, and narratives that uphold them (Moraga & Anzaldúa, 1981). Such work refuses colonial logics of individualism, hierarchy, and isolation, instead valuing and practicing collective care, sharing, and interconnection. In this way, the autoethnographic process often involves acts of survival that also may spark, sustain, and strengthen life-giving relationships.

Latine/x Autoethnographies is a discussion-based course animated by several orienting questions that center Latine/x/a/o peoples and communities. These entry points include: What are the possibilities and risks of autoethnographic communication—and for whom—amid compounding crises and threats to survival and wellbeing? How do these accounts call attention to societal harms and injustices, while also pointing to alternative ways of being, knowing, and communicating? In what con/texts can enactments and examinations of autoethnographic creations help different audiences to question and dismantle borders—both figurative and literal—as well as other harmful constructs? How do different Latine/x/a/o communicators craft counternarratives rooted in mutual support and kinships? How can class members challenge certain assumptions and approaches that often diminish the value of autoethnographies, reducing this work to “me-search” (rather than “research”)? We will approach these guiding course questions by discussing academic journal articles, popular press pieces, and online recordings, among other texts. These works include excerpts from Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, and Making Livable Worlds: Afro-Puerto Rican Women Building Environmental Justice. All readings will be provided on Canvas and/or will be accessible online at no cost. In conversation with assigned and class member-suggested reading, viewing, and listening materials, students will delve into their own related interests by generating a multi-part autoethnography with a public-facing component. These critical contributions will be informed and supported by experiential learning, conferencing with the professor, and peer reviewing. 

This course can be used to fulfill a Humanities requirement for the Latinx Studies minor. Please contact Program Director Dr. Audrey Lucero (alucero@uoregon.edu) if you plan to count this class towards the Latinx Studies minor. See https://latinxstudies.uoregon.edu/ for more information on the Latinx Studies minor.