Acts of Faith: A Braided Autoethnography


This creative-critical paper takes the broad strokes of belief and explores various personal experiences, grounding memory through diverse narratives. In the social sciences, the idea of multiple selves (Lester, 2010) offers how the mind is made up of subselves that account for the co-existence of conflicting desires or forces. In this paper, the focus is on how a supposedly rational being responds to and expresses diverse manifestations of faith.

This paper structures lived experiences through three autoethnographic strands that are braided around the phrase ‘Acts of Faith’:
1. Falling victim to a job scam while acting in a YouTube show for children
2. Trying to raise someone from the dead in the tradition of Christian Evangelical faith healing
3. Autoethnography as a scholarly act of faith

The braided essay (Miller & Paola, 2004), in creative non-fiction, is a form that situates two or more disparate narratives, twining them through theme or image. It is a form that isn’t meant to make logical connections between the strands, rather, like a metaphor, makes the reader work to probe at a possible range of meanings.

In ‘Acts of Faith,’ the multiple selves approach is not based on dissociation but on creative expression through autoethnography, which offers a complex and messy approach that is often more authentic than traditional academic writing (Moriarty, 2013). It attempts to find new ways to tell stories while embracing researcher subjectivity (Ellis and Bochner, 2000), acknowledging that there are multiple lenses through which the self can process experience.

Author Information
Marc Nair, School of the Arts, Singapore

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2023
Stream: Literary Arts Practices

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon