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About Carolyn Ellis

My main areas of interest include autoethnography, Holocaust, emotions (particularly loss and grief), narrative, relationships, and qualitative methods. For most of my career in sociology and communication, I have been interested in narratives of loss and trauma, health benefits of storytelling, and humanistic approaches to research on sensitive and traumatic topics. I have written about how emotions are experienced and expressed in mundane and extraordinary situations. Additionally, I have developed methods that integrate ethnographic, literary, and evocative approaches to portray and make sense of unique lives in cultural context. I research as an ethnographer, expressing my observations of lived experience in stories, with scenes, dialogue, character development, and plot. Focusing on how context and relationship affect stories created during interviews, I have conducted collaborative and reflexive interviews in which members occupy dual roles of researcher and participant. Currently I am writing a literary ethnography with Holocaust survivors about their experiences and how they strive to make sense of trauma and create meaningful lives in their later years.


Present Professor of Communication and Sociology, University of South Florida

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Books (4)

Articles (30)