C. Ellis, U of South Florida, F'21

Name of Speakers:

Prof. emeritus Carolyn Ellis (University of South Florida) 

Sept. 2, 2021


ZOOM Center Lecture.

This video is a recording of the first Fall 2021 Center Lecture that featured Professor Emerita Carolyn Ellis (Florida), who gave a talk entitled "Being with Jerry: Compassionate and Collaborative Research with a Survivor of the Holocaust." A Distinguished University Professor Emerita at the University of South Florida, Dr. Ellis has extensively contributed to the narrative and autoethnographic study of human life through integrating ethnographic, literary, and evocative writing to portray and make sense of lived experience in cultural context. Her talk focuses on her multi-year collaborating with Jerry Rawicki, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto. Her presentation employs film clips from her interviews and a video about their trip to Treblinka, where Jerrys' family members were gassed, to demonstrate the research relationship that has formed between them. Calling on compassionate interviewing and storytelling, Jerry and Prof. Ellis collaborate to understand his experiences during and after the Holocaust and how a compassionate research orientation might work in practice. In this approach, a researcher and participant listen deeply to, speak responsibly with, feel passionately for, share vulnerably with, and connect relationally and ethically to each other with care. They write and tell stories empathetically and respectfully, focusing on participants’ well-being and the possibility of renewal and purpose in life. This approach adds a relational and emotional dimension to research on trauma, such as the Holocaust, that enables us to learn from our interactions with others as well as from what our participants say.  Prof. C. Patti (ASU) moderated and led the Q-and-A.