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Autobiography as a writing strategy in postcolonial literature , 2nd, 3rd May 2013
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Autobiography as a fully recognised genre in literary studies will be revisited through postcolonial writings in this conference. From Rousseau’s confessions to modern autofiction, the genre has progressed through various uses and expressions of the ‘I’ and the ‘me’. Phillipe Lejeune provided sophisticated critical tools to further investigate such a literary expression. This conference proposes to show how the genre has evolved within African and Indian writings, including those of the diaspora. The target is also to understand why such a genre has become so popular in postcolonial writings as Elleke Boehmer has argued in Colonial and Posconial Literature. The conference will mainly focus on the reasons behind such a growing interest and on its literary expression. Indeed, the conference proposes to analyse the different manners of expressing the self in Africa, India and beyond. Possible areas of focus may include autobiographies and autofictions written by women ; affirmation of the self, individual and collective reconstruction and their impact on literarity and politics ; and the ways in which autobiographical writing underlines more than any other genre (or not) a stronger quest for identity, self-knowledge and self-recognition. Is autobiographical writing a mere representation of broader social and psychological issues in postcoloniality ? Is autobiography primarily occupied with searching for one’s sources and one’sroots ? How has the colonial period with the slave trade, the colonisation of the lands and the souls, impacted the development of autobiographical writing, including its particular style ? Is autobiography a more liberating genre than fiction? This conference will discuss these strategies through fascinating postcolonial autobiographies.