The label “autoethnography” has been applied to a wide range of knowledge-producing practices, from what might be considered “normal” science to narrative-driven writing to performance. These debates highlight some of the most fundamental tensions about legitimate ways of knowing/knowledge production in the contemporary world. Further, one strength of autoethnography as a method lies in situating personal experience within broader political, social, and cultural events, which can create new opportunities in academia for voices often silenced. With these elements of autoethnography in mind, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors founded an interdisciplinary autoethnography course cluster and lab at Oberlin College and Conservatory. In this essay, we describe the course cluster, lab, and successes and challenges of each. We also discuss the strategies and innovations of introducing undergraduate students to autoethnography. We hope that our model will be instructive for colleagues with similar goals at their institutions. Through the cross-course workshops and collaborative exercises of the autoethnography lab, our students had the opportunity to use autoethnography not just to analyze their communities but also to build a community of practice.

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