Dr. Rachel I. Fretz is a Lecturer in the UCLA Writing Programs. Over the years she has taught a variety of courses, including English 5W, English 3, and English 100W; she also helped develop the workshops and writing consultations for Teaching Fellows instructing Writing II in the Cluster program. Her own courses have focused on a range of topics including folklore and oral literature, ethnography, representation of non-western people, African storytelling, travel tales, and personal life stories. Having lived and studied in various cultural and language contexts throughout her life, (in Luxembourg as a child, among East Coast Mennonites as a youth, in African villages as an adult, and finally settling in southern California), she enjoys the diversity of the UCLA students and develops assignments that draw on their experiences and cultural heritage.
Dr. Fretz received her Ph.D. in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA. Her specializations in ethnographic studies, cultural diversity, oral storytelling, and African Studies, as well as her research, inform her courses. Supported by Fulbright scholarships, she has lived in African villages in the Congo (formerly Zaire) and in Zambia where she conducted ethnographic research, at intervals, for a total of five years. Based on her experiences, as well as teaching with the UCLA sociology immersion program, (English 100W), she co-authored Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes (Chicago Press, 1995 and 2011 second edition) with sociologists, Robert Emerson and Linda Shaw. The book has been translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Turkish. Aimed at an across-the-discipline audience, the book discusses how to conduct ethnographic research and emphasizes the intersections between theoretical, methodological, and writing issues. Suitable for college and graduate students, the book continues to fill a niche in the literature on ethnography. Her publications also include articles on African storytelling.