Presentation Title

Autoethnographic Glimpses Into Isolated, Extreme Religious Subculture

Presenter Status

Graduate Program Director/Associate Professor, Department of Visual Art, Communication, and Design

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Session

Literature

Location

Buller Hall Room 108

Start Date

6-5-2016 11:25 AM

End Date

6-5-2016 11:45 AM

Presentation Abstract

The general-audience book Born Yesterday: the True Story of a Girl Born in the 20th Century but Raised in the 19th, republished in 2016 by Pacific Press, is an expanded, popular, testimony-focused work that originated from the presenter’s 2007 doctoral dissertation. Titled Adaptation and Beyond: From Isolation and Separation Toward Broader Cultural Inclusion and Integration, the study examined her and her brothers’ adaptation process and used ethnographic and autoethnographic methods to explore the impact of an extreme religious ideology with which they were raised. Unique methodical approaches included systematic introspection and emotional recall for capturing lived experiences, two differing types of interview research, and a review of over 4,000 pages of journal writings. The result was the development of narrated and narrative accounts, punctuated by journal excerpts, that depicted the original subcultural environment and subsequent adaptation experiences and challenges, interspersed with scholarly perspectives. Conclusions included that adaptation from isolated religious subculture can be studied within cross-cultural research, something which essentially has not been done, and that autoethnography is a valuable approach for gaining an intimate glimpse into the deep, foundational impact of a religious subculture. In this presentation, the unique methodical approaches are reviewed, and then a sampling of the narrated and narrative accounts as ultimately published in the popular-version book, Born Yesterday, is presented.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Rachel Williams-Smith is the current graduate director and former chair of the Department of Communication at Andrews University. She has a Ph.D. in Communication from Regent University (2007), and her research interests include autoethnography, religious cultural adaptation, and visual communication. In addition, she is completing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University, and the focus of her dissertation is new faculty adjustment. Dr. Williams-Smith holds a M.A. degree in English: Professional Writing from the University of Cincinnati (1995) and a B.S. degree in Language Arts: Secondary Education from Oakwood University (1990).

Before coming to Andrews University, she served as an associate professor of Communication at Oakwood University and director of the university’s Adult and Continuing Education program. In addition to teaching in the Communication and English fields, Dr. Williams-Smith has worked as a newspaper reporter and a professional and scientific writer and editor. She is a professional presenter, speaker and author. Dr. Williams-Smith is a member of the National Communication Association and the Michigan Arts Sciences and Letters organization; she also serves as a peer reviewer for the American Association of Behavioral & Social Sciences Journal.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 6th, 11:25 AM May 6th, 11:45 AM

Autoethnographic Glimpses Into Isolated, Extreme Religious Subculture

Buller Hall Room 108

The general-audience book Born Yesterday: the True Story of a Girl Born in the 20th Century but Raised in the 19th, republished in 2016 by Pacific Press, is an expanded, popular, testimony-focused work that originated from the presenter’s 2007 doctoral dissertation. Titled Adaptation and Beyond: From Isolation and Separation Toward Broader Cultural Inclusion and Integration, the study examined her and her brothers’ adaptation process and used ethnographic and autoethnographic methods to explore the impact of an extreme religious ideology with which they were raised. Unique methodical approaches included systematic introspection and emotional recall for capturing lived experiences, two differing types of interview research, and a review of over 4,000 pages of journal writings. The result was the development of narrated and narrative accounts, punctuated by journal excerpts, that depicted the original subcultural environment and subsequent adaptation experiences and challenges, interspersed with scholarly perspectives. Conclusions included that adaptation from isolated religious subculture can be studied within cross-cultural research, something which essentially has not been done, and that autoethnography is a valuable approach for gaining an intimate glimpse into the deep, foundational impact of a religious subculture. In this presentation, the unique methodical approaches are reviewed, and then a sampling of the narrated and narrative accounts as ultimately published in the popular-version book, Born Yesterday, is presented.