Date of Award

5-1-2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Walker, Rebecca

Abstract

Autoethnography is a research method that relies on connecting personal narrative to larger social issues, using writing and/or performance to draw those connections for an audience and critique those issues along the way. Autoethnographers, in a vulnerable act, tell their own stories to make these connections and critiques, and ask their audiences to help them change the way society functions, to help achieve social justice by engaging with and helping to solve these issues. This project explores a specific autoethnographic work—The Wolf Inside, a solo performance piece dealing with the dis/ableist experiences of the author in their journey toward diagnosis, treatment, and good quality of life with systemic lupus erythematosus. It examines the implications of autoethnography as a method of educating audiences about invisible disabilities like lupus, confronting harmful dis/ableist behaviors, offering solutions to these issues, and functioning as a coping mechanism for the author/performer who lives with invisible disabilities.

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