Ethnographica: towards a mode of graphic inquiry
Woglom, James Francis
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This dissertation’s inquiry focuses specifically on a series of ethnographic graphic works, or ethnographica, that I have composed in collaboration with co-author Stephanie Jones. Together, we have ventured to co-design and co-write a series of comics designed to serve as a venue for discussion of Jones’ teacher education research. These creative arts-based accounts address the material and discursive conditions that intra-acted during the early life and emergent career of Dr. Jones, predominately focusing on findings she derived from a three-year ethnographic study of a teacher education course she developed and taught. Together we wove together notes, recollections, multimedia documentation and auto-ethnographic memoirs in order to create visual and textual examinations of entangled phenomena presented in the multimodal, graphic form of drawn comics. In this manner we sought to consider and juxtapose concepts, apparatuses, and events in a manner that could allow for more complex material considerations than the traditional alphanumeric text alone. Considering these material and discursive intra-actions in light of Stephanie’s subsequent efforts and accomplishments in the field of teaching, we sought to tease out the variety of intertwined factors that might inform theories of teacher education, ranging from the political, social and economic, to the cosmic and biographical. Further, I, in turn, have attempted to frame these graphic practices as being curricularly important in terms of their heterogenetic, or mutant, tendencies, providing precedence for further experimentation in methods of inquiry, especially desirable in what I perceive to be climate of standardized practices of enforced normative, homogeneous models of living. I argue that our works of ethnographica could stand as examples of how scholarship might be affected differently, much in the same way that the subdiscipline of visual ethnography and its proponents have been successful in establishing an interstitial space for themselves to operate in academia while presenting and conducting their work through nontraditional media.