Resilient Bodies: Beyond the Margins of Life Writing

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Recent discussions in autobiography studies have increasingly shifted their focus to non-conventional forms of self-expression. In broader terms, life writing, which aims to reveal the self in all of its complexity, has inevitably evolved from a highly conventional genre to an open and ever-expanding practice that connects writing with other modes of representation. Discussions on autobiography have progressively become inclusive of non-literary forms of expression, such as performance, body and endurance art.

The works of artists such as Marina Abramovic, Abel Azcona, Cindy Sherman, and Sophie Calle, just to name a few, experiment with various conventions of visual and live art to push self-expression beyond the margins of writing and into the public domain. Many of these artists, such as Marina Abramovic and Abel Azcona – in particular through their “endurance art” installations – deal with themes of physical and emotional resilience to address the question of personal identity. Similarly, the performance art installations of Cindy Sherman and Sophie Calle question the stereotypes of self-representation and test the limits of autobiography by experimenting with different identities in different social contexts.

This session encourages the study of French and Francophone performance artists who work in the autobiography field which is an area that has been explored very little to date. Its purpose is to stimulate an interdisciplinary research and exchange between scholars from different fields and to promote French and Francophone art and culture.

This session welcomes interdisciplinary research that examines various forms of self-expression from different fields of inquiry such as literature, the visual and fine arts. Proposals should be submitted in 250 words max.