Life Writing as Political Voice

deadline for submissions: 
April 22, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
PAMLA-Nov. 2021 Las vegas

City dwellers have a unique opportunity to see and engage in group political activities that those in more rural areas do not. Their everyday lives can be impacted by political demonstrations whether they are actively participating or not. The perspectives that we usually get are from the government, press, or political leaders. These accounts miss how people actually experience and understand the protests they see and/or participate in. As such, examining the life writing of those who participated or observed city protests can be intriguing and add a personal element to group politics. This panel will focus on the experiences of those who planned, participated, and/or observed protests in various cities. Ideas to be examined include personal vs. public perception, the individual vs. government, and political activities as community building among others. For example, reading the personal accounts of British suffragists during the Black Friday protest highlights the very real danger the women encountered and the gendered opposition they faced through both physical and sexual assault. Entries can be historical or contemporary and involve any large metropolitan area. While memoirs could be useful in this discussion, pieces can come from online publications, articles as well as diaries and less public life writing.