Call for Papers
The 7th Biennial International Auto/Biography Association Conference
University of Sussex
28 June-2 July 2010
Conference Topic: Life Writing and Intimate Publics
The Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research and the International
Auto/Biography Association invite scholars and life writers to attend the
7th IABA conference, at the University of Sussex, Brighton, England.
Keynote speakers include Nancy K. Miller, Sidonie Smith, Jenny Diski, Liz
Stanley, Nadje Al-Ali and Alessandro Portelli.
Late modernity has spot-lit intimate relations. Families, feelings and love
lives have been opened to public politics through pressures of
globalisation, digitisation, the mass media and social movements such as
feminism. At the same time, traditional citizenships of public rights and
responsibilities find new definition through trauma, consumption, identity
and care. As boundaries between 'public' and 'private' multiply, new
constituencies of belonging and claim are convened, from Fathers for
Justice to flood survivors to Facebook. This conference begins from Lauren
Berlant's term 'intimate public' to explore these new constituencies in
relation to life writing and life storying across media, discipline and
Life writing and life story construct intimate publics in autobiographies,
biographies, diaries, oral histories, blogs, reality television,
photography, letters, life histories, documentaries, graphic memoirs,
quilts, exhibitions, mobile phone texts. They have also been crucial agents
in constructing counter-publics. We welcome papers dealing with the
following questions, and others which may be related to the conference
" How do life writings construct citizenship, civic relations and/or
counter-publics? How is life history used in non-governmental public
actions and activisms? And how have governmental organisations used life
history and life writing?
" What intimacies are facilitated by life writings and life stories?
" How does life writing relate to life story, life history and oral history?
" How has life writing and life story participated in care contexts such as
parenting, social work, health, education? What discourses of risk, claim,
vulnerability, rights and responsibilities are revealed in life writings
and their uses?
" What engagements do/should life writing and life history have with
" How does the economy of life story production and consumption relate to
the construction of intimate publics and who are its consumers and
" In what ways can we compare ethical codes for life writing, oral history
and life history? How do these manage the nature of intimate publics?
" How do life writing and life history contribute to public and private
archives and to public history/heritage?
" How does life writing construct or obstruct cross-cultural or
" As we understand more about the work of life writing, how is life writing
making us work?
" What relationships persist between life writing as aesthetic and as
Because our primary concern will be stimulating and sustaining conversation
between conference participants, papers should be limited to fifteen
minutes in length. This will ensure time in all sessions for questions and
discussion. Panels on a single topic and submitted together are welcome.
(Panels and sessions will have three presenters.) Panels and individual
papers may be conducted or delivered in the language of the participant's
choice -let us know well in advance so we may make all necessary
arrangements. All participants should inform the organizers about media
requirements -DVD, internet, visual projection, audio, and so on.
Abstracts for papers should be @300 words long. There should be an
abstract for each paper in a panel presentation. The deadline for
abstracts will be 1 September, 2009. Though e-mail is preferred, abstracts
can be submitted by mail or fax to the following numbers and addresses.
* * *
IABA Conference Call for Papers
c/o The Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research
Centre for Continuing Education
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QQ, England
fax: 01273 877534