American Studies
American Studies

Ricardo Ainslie


Affiliate FacultyPh.D., University of Michigan

M. K. Hage Centennial Professor in Education, Educational Psychology
Ricardo Ainslie

Contact

Interests


Psychoanalysis and cultural experience of immigration, ethnic conflicts within communities, and the relationship between individual and collective identity

Biography


My work focuses on communities in the United States and Mexico that have experienced significant conflict, violence, and transformation, exploring broader questions about how communities absorb crises and how individuals and cultural groups live within them. A hallmark of my projects is that I use a variety of media, including documentary film, photographic exhibits, and books, to foster reflection within the communities I study and beyond them.

My work is highly interdisciplinary in character as reflected in my affiliations with the Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies, the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, and the American Studies programs at the University of Texas at Austin, where I am also the M.K. Hague Centennial Professor in Education in the department of Educational Psychology.

In this work I have gravitated toward the methodological approaches more typically associated with anthropology, American Studies, Liberal Arts, and creative non-fiction, developing a hybrid methodology that I terms ‘psychoanalytic ethnography’ because I conduct in-depth interviews that typically have a deeply psychological character.

I am a native of Mexico City, Mexico, and a US citizen. I earned my Bachelor’s degree (Psychology) at the University of California at Berkeley, and my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Michigan. I am also board certified in psychology and psychoanalysis.

Courses


LAH 350 • Documentary Film & Inquiry

29200 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SZB 439B
(also listed as EDP 369K)

The primary thesis that organizes this course is that qualitative approaches to inquiry, including ethnography, interviewing, and narrative description, are unique methodologies that help us examine and understand the meaning of social incidents and controversies, cultural transformations, and other questions of interest. Documentary projects will be the vehicle for exploring these methodological issues over the course of the semester. We will also learn about the elements that make documentaries effective as a means for communicating ideas and issues.  

Students will develop and carry out 20-minute documentary video projects around topics that they select. In the process, they will learn about interviewing, filming with video cameras, lighting, and sound, in addition to learning the basic elements of editing. The projects will be selected from idea proposals that students submit. Working collaboratively in teams of 2-3 students, your team will conceive of the project, research it, film interviews related to it, and edit your material into the 20-minute documentary. Your instructor will provide ongoing consultation on your project and the documentaries will be screened at the end of the semester.

No previous experience with documentary work is required.

 

LAH 350 • Documentary Film & Inquiry

29545 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SZB 439B
(also listed as EDP 369K)

 

The primary focus of this course is teaching students to make short documentaries inspired by student-generated topics. Historically, we have covered a wide array of interesting issues. The documentary projects will also be the vehicle for exploring methodological issues over the course of the semester. We will also learn about the elements that make documentaries effective as a means for communicating ideas and issues in a variety of contexts.

Specifically, students will work in teams to develop and carry out 20-minute documentary video projects. In the process, they will learn about interviewing, filming with video cameras, lighting, and sound, in addition to learning the basic elements of editing. The projects will be selected from idea proposals submitted by students. Working collaboratively in teams, your team will conceive of the project, research it, film interviews and shoot other material related to it, and edit your material into the 20-minute documentary. I will provide ongoing consultation on your project and the documentaries will be screened at the end of the semester. No previous experience with documentary work is required.

The primary thesis underlying this course is that documentary film is an example of qualitative approaches to inquiry, including ethnography, interviewing, and narrative description. It is a unique methodology that can help us examine and understand the meaning of social incidents and controversies, cultural transformations, and other questions of interest. 

PREREQUISITES:

Upper-division standing and a grade point average of at least 3.50.

RESTRICTIONS:

Restricted to Plan I majors in the College of Liberal Arts. 

LAH 350 • Documentary Film & Inquiry

30500 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SZB 439B
(also listed as EDP 369K)

The primary thesis that organizes this course is that qualitative approaches to inquiry, including ethnography, interviewing, and narrative description, are unique methodologies that help us examine and understand the meaning of social incidents and controversies, cultural transformations, and other questions of interest. Documentary projects will be the vehicle for exploring these methodological issues over the course of the semester. We will also learn about the elements that make documentaries effective as a means for communicating ideas and issues. 

Students will develop and carry out 20-minute documentary video projects around topics that they select. In the process, they will learn about interviewing, filming with video cameras, lighting, and sound, in addition to learning the basic elements of editing. The projects will be selected from idea proposals that students submit. Working collaboratively in teams of 2-3 students, your team will conceive of the project, research it, film interviews related to it, and edit your material into the 20-minute documentary. Your instructor will provide ongoing consultation on your project and the documentaries will be screened at the end of the semester. No previous experience with documentary work is required.

TEXTS:

Ainslie, No Dancin’ in Anson

Emerson, Contemporary Field Research

Course Grade will be based on class participation, the life history research project, and a paper that critiques a non-fiction narrative.

EDP 369K • Life Hist/Doc Appro To Inq-Hon

10315 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SZB 439B
(also listed as LAH 350)

Narrative accounts (such as documentary film, biography, or other non-fiction works) are an important medium through which we endeavor to understand events that have a significant impact upon our lives (both individually and collectively).  In this course we will engage such accounts as a form of inquiry, one that relies heavily on interview methods and broader descriptive methodologies such as ethnography and qualitative approaches to research.  How are such accounts constructed and how are they to be evaluated? 

In the first third of the course we will examine the creation of narrative material through interviews, drawing heavily from psychoanalysis to understand the structure of the interview process.  This portion of the course will also look at ethnographic and related methodologies that rest heavily on interview methods and descriptive forms of inquiry. 

Students will develop documentary/life history projects cover the course of the semester.  Within the first weeks of class, students’ will have identified their topics and begun researching them with close consultation from the instructor and the class.  These projects may be done individually or collaboratively.  We will learn some basic tools for digital filming and editing (students do not need to have previous experience with video, filming or editing) as well as the elements that help make a documentary project effective as a means for communicating ideas and issues.  These projects will be presented in class at the end of the semester.

Texts

Ainslie, No Dancin’ in Anson

Emerson, Contemporary Field Research

Grading

Course Grade will be based on class participation, the life history research project, and a paper that critiques a non-fiction narrative.

 

EDP 369K • Life Hist/Doc Appro To Inq-Hon

10235 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SZB 439B
(also listed as LAH 350)

Narrative accounts (such as documentary film, biography, or other non-fiction works) are an important medium through which we endeavor to understand events that have a significant impact upon our lives (both individually and collectively).  In this course we will engage such accounts as a form of inquiry, one that relies heavily on interview methods and broader descriptive methodologies such as ethnography and qualitative approaches to research.  How are such accounts constructed and how are they to be evaluated?  In the first third of the course we will examine the creation of narrative material through interviews, drawing heavily from psychoanalysis to understand the structure of the interview process.  This portion of the course will also look at ethnographic and related methodologies that rest heavily on interview methods and descriptive forms of inquiry.  Students will develop documentary/life history projects cover the course of the semester.  Within the first weeks of class, students’ will have identified their topics and begun researching them with close consultation from the instructor and the class.  These projects may be done individually or collaboratively.  We will learn some basic tools for digital filming and editing (students do not need to have previous experience with video, filming or editing) as well as the elements that help make a documentary project effective as a means for communicating ideas and issues.  These projects will be presented in class at the end of the semester.

Texts

Ainslie, No Dancin’ in Anson

Emerson, Contemporary Field Research

EDP 369K • Life Hist/Doc Appro To Inq-Hon

10345 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SZB 439B
(also listed as LAH 350)

Narrative accounts (such as documentary film, biography, or other non-fiction works) are an important medium through which we endeavor to understand events that have a significant impact upon our lives (both individually and collectively).  In this course we will engage such accounts as a form of inquiry, one that relies heavily on interview methods and broader descriptive methodologies such as ethnography and qualitative approaches to research.  How are such accounts constructed and how are they to be evaluated?

In the first third of the course we will examine the creation of narrative material through interviews, drawing heavily from psychoanalysis to understand the structure of the interview process.  This portion of the course will also look at ethnographic and related methodologies that rest heavily on interview methods and descriptive forms of inquiry.

Students will develop documentary/life history projects cover the course of the semester.  Within the first weeks of class, students’ will have identified their topics and begun researching them with close consultation from the instructor and the class.  These projects may be done individually or collaboratively.  We will learn some basic tools for digital filming and editing (students do not need to have previous experience with video, filming or editing) as well as the elements that help make a documentary project effective as a means for communicating ideas and issues.  These projects will be presented in class at the end of the semester.

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