This essay introduces the author's mentoring relationship with Robin M. Boylorn, whom she advised as a PhD student from 2003 to 2009. It describes their initial meeting and the relationship they developed as Robin completed her dissertation, which became the book Sweetwater. It discusses the ethical issues in doing autoethnographic research about one's family. Though of different races, Robin and her mentor both came from working-class, Southern backgrounds. In Sweetwater, Robin goes back home for both of them. They continue to meet often and enjoy being colleagues, family, and “just folk” together.
Carolyn Ellis is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of South Florida. Her most recent books include The Ethnographic I: A Methodological Novel about Autoethnography; Revision: Autoethnographic Reflections on Life and Work; Music Autoethnographies: Making Autoethnography Sing/Making Music Personal (with Brydie-Leigh Bartlett); and with Tony E. Adams and Stacy Holman Jones, both the Handbook of Autoethnography as well as Autoethnography: Understanding Qualitative Research Series. She has published articles and personal stories situated in emotions and interpretive representations of qualitative research, particularly autoethnography. Her current research focuses on sharing authority in a collaborative research process with Holocaust survivors and writing about the ethics and practices of autoethnography. Her favorite activity in academia is mentoring with graduate students. Thanks to Tony Adams, Arthur Bochner, and Stacy Holman Jones for their caring and helpful comments on this story. Thanks to Robin M. Boylorn for her enthusiastic responses to and thoughtful assistance with this story. Thanks to all four of you for being who you are and doing all you do. Correspondence to: Carolyn Ellis, Department of Communication, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, CIS 1040, Tampa, FL 33620, USA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Carolyn Ellis; Sweet Mentoring. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 1 March 2015; 4 (1): 81–88. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2015.4.1.81
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