banner USF Home College of Arts & Sciences OASIS myUSF USF A-Z Index

USF Home > College of Arts and Sciences > Department of Communication

Carolyn Ellis
Distinguished University Professor

Carolyn  Ellis

Qualitative Methods, Emotions, Autoethnography, Holocaust Studies

Office: CIS 3033
Phone: 813/974-2145

Dr. Ellis began teaching at USF in 1981 in the Sociology Department and joined the Communication Department in 1996. Much of her research has been situated in interpretive and artistic representations of qualitative research and focuses on writing and revisioning autoethnographic stories as a way to understand and interpret culture and live a meaningful life. Her current research focuses on interactive interviews and collaborative witnessing with Holocaust survivors

Curriculum Vitae
(February 2016)

Undergraduate Course Offerings

  • Communicating Emotions
  • Communicating Illness, Loss, and Grief
  • Race and Emotions
  • Writing Lives
  • Personal Storytelling

Graduate Course Offerings

  • Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
  • Autoethnography
  • Communicating Emotions
  • Communicating Grief and Loss
  • Qualitative Methods

Representative Publications

“Collaborative Witnessing of Survival during the Holocaust: An Exemplar of Relational Autoethnography.” Qualitative Inquiry, 19 (4)(with J. Rawicki), 2013

“Crossing the Rabbit Hole: Autoethnographic Life Review,” Qualitative Inquiry, 19(1), 35-45, 2013

 “The Procrastinating Autoethnographer: Reflections of Self on the Blank Screen.” The International Review of Qualitative Research, 5(3), 331-337, 2012.

“Jumping On and Off the Run Away Train of Success: Stress and Committed Intensity in an Academic Life.” Symbolic Interaction, 34(2), 158-172, 2011.

“Revisioning an Ethnographic Life: Integrating a Communicative Heart with a Sociological Eye.” Studies in Symbolic Interaction, edited by Norman Denzin, Sage. ("Blue Ribbon" series on self-portraits of famous interactionists, invited and edited by Lonnie Athens), volume 38, pp. 121-149, 2012.

“Telling Secrets, Revealing Lives: Relational Ethics in Research with Intimate Others,” Qualitative Inquiry, 13(1) February, 3-29, 2007.

“Autoethnography, Personal Narrative, Reflexivity: Researcher as Subject,” In The Handbook of Qualitative Research (2nd edition), edited by Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln, Sage, pp. 733-768 (with Arthur Bochner, 2000).


Honors and Awards

  • National Communication Association Distinguished Professor, NCA’s highest award for lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of human communication, 2015
  • National Communication Association, Charles H. Woolbert Research Award, “Autoethnography, Personal Narrative, Reflexivity: Researcher as Subject,” 2014
  • Distinguished University Professor, USF, 2014.
  • National Communication Association, Ethnography Division, Best Edited Collection, Handbook of Autoethnography, 2013.
  • Legacy Lifetime Award, National Communication Association, Ethnography Division. 2013.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award in Qualitative Inquiry from the International Center for Qualitative Inquiry, 2012
  • Theodore and Venette Askounes-Ashford Distinguished Scholar Award, University of South Florida, 2011.
  • “Death was not the Problem: Narrating and Analyzing Stories of Survival in the Warsaw Ghetto,” George Herbert Mead Lecture Series Featured Speaker at National Communication Association, co-sponsored with Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 2012
  • The International Center for Qualitative Inquiry, Best Book in Qualitative Inquiry Award (Revision: Autoethnographic Reflections on Life and Work), May 2010.
  • Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, Charles Horton Cooley Award for best book (Revision: Autoethnographic Reflections on Life and Work), August 2009
  • Relational Witnessing: Memories of Holocaust Survivors at the End of Life, National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend Award, 2009-2010.
  • USF President's Women's Leadership Award, USF Women's Status Committee, 2007.
  • Distinguished book award (The Ethnographic I), Ethnography Division, NCA, 2005
  • Faculty Recognition Award, USF Graduate Communication Association, 2003-2004
  • USF President's Faculty Excellence Award, 2003
  • Feminist Mentor Award, Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 2002
  • Distinguished Publication Award ("With Mother/With Cild"), Ethnography Division, NCA, 2002
  • HUB Award, Department of Communication, USF, 1999
  • University Teaching Award, USF, 1999
  • Teaching Incentive Program Award, USF, 1998
  • Faculty Recognition Award, USF Graduate Communication Association, 1997-1998
  • University Teaching Award, USF, 1990
  • University Teaching Award, USF, 1987
  • Robert E. Park Award for Outstanding Research Monograph in Community and Urban Sociology, American Sociological Association, 1986-1987
  • President's Award for Excellence in Teaching, SUNY, Stony Brook, 1979


Ph.D. SUNY at Stony Brook, 1981 (Sociology)
M.A. SUNY at Stony Brook, 1977 (Sociology)
B.A. College of William and Mary, 1973 (Sociology)

Current Courses

RefCourseSecCourse TitleCRDayTimeLocation
93043SPC 6913007Directed Research

TBA 100

Graduate Students

Jim Bowman, Alyse Keller, Lisa Spinazola