I, S/He, We, They: Writing Lives and Life Writing

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Boston College
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As the Presidential Theme for the 2011 MLA conference indicates, life writing is a critical element in the contemporary landscape of literary studies. The Boston College Biennial English Graduate Conference invites papers that investigate the many roles that life writing plays in the creation and analysis of discourse. Whether examining transnational narratives, ancient oral traditions, modern diaries and letters, or groundbreaking documentary film, the vast array of possibilities for life writing allows us to bring together distinct points of view in productive ways. This conference seeks to answer questions including: what is the place of life writing in literary and cultural studies when examining forms such as autobiography, biography, radio, reality television, diaries, blogging, and travelogues? What are the political and social ramifications of narrating lives? Where do elements of self-fashioning and self-negating come into play? How does this mode of writing cooperate with or resist traditional composition and rhetoric? Where does trauma figure into the writing of lives? In what ways are ethics both generated and challenged between life writers and their readers?

Proposals on the above questions are particularly attractive; however, we welcome surprises and encourage innovative points of view that will help further develop the field of life writing.

Please send all queries and proposals to colloq@bc.edu, using the subject line "Biennial Conference 2011." Deadline: January 13, 2011.

Keynote Speaker: Nancy K. Miller