The aesthetics and politics of contemporary women's life-writing in Canada and the US: multicultural perspectives; 07 March 2015
The proliferation and popularity of life-writing in the last three decades has resulted in intense critical inquiry focusing on issues ranging from neurobiological sources of narrative identity to writing style and form, from ethical and legal concerns to narrative self-fashioning of the gendered and/or ethnic and racial self in life writing. While throughout the 1970s and 1980s gender provided an important lens through which to view life-writing, the early findings of the essential differences between texts written by women and men were soon invalidated. However, at least for some scholars, gender, especially when complicated by other factors, such as ethnicity, race, class and sexual preference, still provides a valuable lens through which to view life-writing texts.
This conference will focus on life-writing by North American women in the context of the multicultural societies of Canada and the United States. We hope to draw scholars from a variety of disciplines whose research focuses on aesthetic and political issues in memoirs, autobiographies, diaries, letters, testimonies, blogs, personal essays, travel narratives, biographies and other forms of life-writing by Canadian and American women in the past and in the present.
Potential proposals may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
• gender, race, ethnicity as critical categories in life-writing scholarship
• the institutional context of life-writing by North American women
• the influence of national contexts (including immigration history, social policy, etc.) on aspects of life-writing by women
• oral traditions and life-writing by women
• life-writing as a medium of intercultural dialogue
• life-writing as a tool of political and social action
• functions of visuals (including pictures, drawings, maps, etc.), ekphrastic descriptions and typography in life-writing by women
• the politics of form and structure in life-writing
Confirmed keynote speaker: Prof. Julie Rak (University of Alberta)
Deadline for paper or panel proposals: November 30th 2014
Email an abstract of 200–300 words and a brief CV (which must include your title, institutional affiliation, email and mailing address) to the conference secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org
Submissions will be acknowledged by email as soon as they are received. Decisions will be made by December 15th 2014.
For details and to register visit the conference website at: