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Modern Biographers Popularity Survey
The interdisciplinary seminar of the Biography Society launches a Modern Biographers Popularity Survey as part of an investigation to determine which modern biographers are the most well-known, in the United Kingdom, in the United States of America, and in France. Would you please take a few minutes of your precious time to express your opinion and forward the link to your relevant networks? A synthesis of the results will be issued in due time.
IABA Europe 2017: Life Writing, Europe, and New Media
King's College London (UK)
7-9 June 2017
CfP deadline: 31 January 2017
The Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s College London and the European Research Council- Funded ‘Ego-Media’ project are delighted to be hosting the IABA Europe conference in London from the 7th-9th June 2017. The conference will highlight digital and new media. Changes in technologies of information and communication affect our everyday lives, research and teaching: key questions for the conference will be how new media have transformed both lives and life writing. We hope scholars working on other topics and earlier times will find it interesting to explore the transformations the digital is effecting in their fields. We also welcome contributions where the emphasis falls on other concerns of particular urgency for the IABA community – for example conflict, displacement, migration and refugees; women’s lives; LGBT+ lives; issues of national and European identities.
Topics may include, but need not be confined to, the following:
Diaries, blogs, vlogs
The digital everyday
Digital and literary forms
Digital arts and life writing
Social Media platforms
Migrants’ and refugees’ stories
Citizenship and the digital
Life (writing) after Brexit
Space, place and virtuality/the local and the global
Health, well-being and the digital self
The networked self
Sharing, Liking, and digital agency
digital activism and advocacy
methodologies and histories
audiences and reading practices
digital language and languages
digital aesthetics and affects
technology and metaphor: digital metaphors we live by
online (dis)embodiment and (im)materiality
pre-digital media -- cinema, television, print or manuscript
economy, austerity, and the digital
big data /the quantified self
forms of play
We are also planning to include workshops in which life writing projects or groups can present their work.
Proposals are encouraged including participation by creative practitioners. Proposals for panels and alternative formats are also welcome. Indeed, we very much want to vary the pattern from groups of 20-minute papers. If you’d be interested in participating in something like a ‘lightning round’ let us know what topic(s) you’d most like to speak about.
Please send proposals to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 January 2017
Clare Brant and Max Saunders, on behalf of the IABA-Europe 2017 Organising Committee
Writing herself in the World: Women’s autobiography and relationship to the world
14-15 October 2016, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre (France)
"Our sweetest existence is both relative and collective, and our true self does not reside solely within us," Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in Rousseau, Judge of Jean-Jacques. If autobiography is indeed the reflective act of a remembering self, this self is never an isolated subject and the world is never only a mere stage set for reminiscing. Sociologist Maurice Halbwachs wrote, "we never remember alone." Are not the interior and the exterior worlds simply two faces of the same reality? Annie Ernaux, who borrowed Rousseau's phrase in her Journal du dehors/ Exteriors, introduces herself as "crossed by people and their existence like a whore," since her relationship to the world is not only an objective of her mind, but a physical and erotic link too. In How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves (1999), Paul John Eakin encourages us to demystify the self-referential narrative seen as autodiegetic, where the first person subject would first and foremost refer to itself. Eakin states that the first person of autobiography is truly plural in its origins and subsequent formation. He proposes the terms "relational self" and "relational life," arguing that all identity is relational and all self-writing is at the crossroads of biography and autobiography, which positions the narrating subject in a larger context—that of the family, the community and the ethnic group. A writing of inwardness may also be perceived as an inscription of otherness and of “formerness.” To write is not only to become an individual, but also to recognize the presence of others in the making of the self.
Autobiography, which is traditionally associated with a certain subjective idealism, is not expected to fully engage with the world, while memoirs, a genre preferred by Anglo Saxon women, position the writing subjects in a larger environment. As Nancy Miller insisted, memoirs do not draw a clear line between the public and the private since emphasizing the role of the outside world amounts to some socio-political, cultural or ethical risk. It means inhabiting and reappropriating the public space, becoming visible, sharing one's experience and offering a reflection on history and society. For Helen M. Buss, memoirs are not only representations of women’s personal lives but also of their desire to repossess important parts of our culture, in which women’s stories have not mattered.
From this perspective, the autobiographical project is akin to sociology or history, which it completes without replacing. What historical value can we attribute to autobiography? What is the relation between autobiography and cultural memory? Between autobiography and counter-memory? Autobiography and photography?
Beyond the traditional (written) forms of autobiographical narrative, we are interested in other, more contemporary, forms of autobiographical projects. Several themes may be explored:
1) The autobiographical narrative as testimony/reappropriation/intervention: how do women participate as witnesses of their time? What narrative strategies do they use to combine/separate/mix individual and collective discourses, private and public discourses? How do women write narratives of historical events or of "conditions of being"? Specific genres such as war stories or slave narratives could be studied.
2) Autobiography and 'postmemory' (Hirsch): when second or third generations recount the trauma (war, exile, decolonization, poverty) endured by previous generations in diasporic memoirs, or working class memoirs (Jeanette Winterson, Carolyn Steedman).
3) The places of memory: what is the relation of women’s autobiography to space-time? How is the place of memory represented (cf the garden world of Jamaica Kincaid in My Garden (Book))? What role does it play in the construction of the narrative identity in narratives of exile and of migration, such as ethnic culinary memoirs (Myriam's Kitchen)? How are the conditions of being part of several worlds and of the postcolonial self expressed?
4) Autobiography in the world's web: the Self in the virtual world. Do on-line journals increase our connectedness to the world or do they leave us more isolated?
5) Autobiography and the image of (the self in the) world: the referentiality of images tested against writing (photographs inserted into the autobiographical text as visual transmission / mediation between the self and the world, graphic memoirs, etc...); the intersection between personal, political and photographic autobiographies (Jo Spence)
Papers will be given in English (preferred language) or French
200-400 word abstracts (and short bios) should be sent by June 15th 2016 to the co-organizers:
Claire Bazin: email@example.com and Corinne Bigot: firstname.lastname@example.org