Kendred Spirits: an Autoethnographic Account of Composing Closeness Between Bars

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The purpose of this dissertation is to share an ongoing story of reflection, Love, and growth as acts of creative resistance. Since 2013, my life has been animated by Love for secondary students whose stories continue to shape every aspect of my own. As the pages of this study illustrate, my Spirit has borne witness to the life and literacies of one particular student, Kentrelle Ty'Carter Washington, whose soul—whose story—I consider permanently fused with mine. Though Kentrelle and I are separated by systems and circumstances that would have his story—his humanity, his body, his spirit—and our access to one another erased, our ongoing relationship allows us to resist this erasure as we share, analyze, and expand our own and one another’s embodied literacies through writing. Together, our humanity—both Kentrelle’s and mine—becomes more urgent. Together, we compose closeness. Together, we write ourselves into one another’s worlds. Together, we resist. With/in a critical autoethnographic ontomethodology, the author uses bricolage and storytelling to illustrate and analyze how her relationship with a former student has expanded both of their racial, relational, and reflexive literacies. In other words, this is the ongoing story of the author’s expanding conceptualization of literacies as she and a former student have learned to compose closeness between bars.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
autoethnography, incarceration, literacy, proximity, storytelling, writing