New Developments in 20th- and 21st-century Life Writing

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
contact email: 

New Developments in 20th- and 21st-century Life Writing (Panel for NEMLA conference, March 10-13, 2022, Baltimore MD)

Forms and approaches to self-representation continue to diversify as the landscape of possible media, tools, subjects, and cultural accounts is growing. Historically, life writing genres such as biography, autobiography, memoir, correspondence and ancestral documentation have been used as archival, political and sociological resources. However, the value and use of life writing extends far beyond these textual forms and practical uses. In an increasingly mobile and interconnected world, issues of subjectivity, identity, belonging, self-constitution and dialog become more pressing, particularly in response to social and cultural upheaval. Examples include Walter Kempowski’s so-called collective diary Echolot or Katja Petrowskaja’s autofictional family history Vielleicht Esther.

The panel looks at voices and perspectives that have gained new traction in recent decades. In particular, we invite papers that consider genre developments within Life Writing with an eye towards methods, forms and interpretations that broaden the range of voices and subject positions we explore. While significant research regarding Life Writing has been undertaken within the field of German Studies in recent years, we also welcome proposals from other disciplines and fields.

Please submit a 250-300 word proposal through the NeMLA submission portal by September 30, 2021:
If you have any questions regarding the panel, please contact the organizers:
Friederike Eigler ( and Samantha Grayck (