Technologies of the Self: New Departures in Self-Inscription
University College Cork, 2-3 September 2011
There are contesting versions of autobiography. We've travelled far since Georges Gusdorf traced the origins of autobiography back to the origins of language itself, saying "the very first man who set out to speak and write his name inaugurated a new mode of human presence in the world. Beginning with the very first one, any inscription is an inscription of the self." Philippe Lejeune was more circumspect in placing Rousseau in the vanguard of self-representational writing, and reading the Confessions as marking the emergence of specifically modern concept of selfhood in the Enlightenment period. But in the same year as the publication of Lejeune's Le Pacte Autobiographique (1975), Roland Barthes published Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes which signaled the end of the classical Enlightenment subject of autobiography, and the beginning of a radical autobiographical practice. Michel Foucault's work on self-surveillance within structures of coercion opened up further vistas.
The last ten years have introduced a further element to this debate: in an era in which self-expression has undergone an exponential growth fuelled by technological innovation, most importantly, perhaps, the creation of an internet that hosts an ever-increasing number of blogs, tweets, personal webpages and other forms of audiovisual self-expression such as YouTube, it seems timely to think again about the phenomenon of writing, filming, recording and, indeed, publishing or publicizing the self: what innovations in self inscription have recent decades witnessed, what continuities and discontinuities can be traced, what changes in attitudes to the self and to self-revelation or exposure have been witnessed, how have developments in the channels of broadcasting altered how, what and why we engage in various, if always elusive acts of self-expression, are there now new practitioners of self-inscription because of these changes, and, finally, with so many outlets and such a market for narratives of self, how is such material consumed?
The organizers of this conference on self inscription invite papers that consider new media, film, the avant-garde and new theoretical approaches to autobiography that are post-Lejeune. The call particularly welcomes, but is not restricted to, papers on the following themes:
• New theories of Autobiography: Thinking beyond Lejeune
• Technologies and self-inscription: The internet and new media innovations
• The avant-garde: Experimentation and the changing boundaries of the Self
• On-line writing and freedom of expression: The blogosphere as political third space
• Auto-ethnographies: New ways of recording the Self in its sociocultural context
• Issues of veridicality
• Consuming selves: The appetite for self expression
Confirmed Key-Note Speaker: Professor Patricia Clough (CUNY)
Abstracts of 250-300 words should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 April 2011.
Patrick Crowley, Kerstin Fest, Rachel MagShamhráin, and Laura Rascaroli