Through my own narrative about my relationship with my fictive father in Zanzibar and the impact of this relationship on my research, in this autoethnographic essay I explore three themes: fictiveness, fatherhood, and the field. These themes tie together different aspects of the term “patriography,” linking them to ethnography and its subgenre autoethnography. Drawing on the term “patriography” as the science or study of fathers, I use the concept of “the field” to examine the impact of narratives about fathers on not only the field as a site of ethnographic research but also on the field of African cultural studies.
Fictive Fathers in the Field
Katrina Daly Thompson is professor and chair of African Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she also directs the program in African languages. She is the author of Popobawa: Tanzanian Talk, Global Misreadings (2017) and Zimbabwe’s Cinematic Arts: Language, Power, Identity (2012), both published by Indiana University Press. Her autoethnographic work has appeared in Anthropology and Humanism and the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and in 2016 she won the top prize in the Ethnographic Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Writing Competition sponsored by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, for her autoethnographic short story, “Secrets of a Swahili Marriage.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Katrina Daly Thompson; Fictive Fathers in the Field. Journal of Autoethnography 27 July 2020; 1 (3): 265–273. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/joae.2020.1.3.265
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