IABA (International Auto/Biography Association) World Conference 2024
in collaboration with the Centre for Studies in Memory and Literature, University of Iceland
Reykjavik, 12-15 June 2024
Call for papers
The IABA World Conference 2024 will be held at the University of Iceland in collaboration with the Centre for Studies in Memory and Literature 12-15 June 2024. The theme of the conference is ‘Fragmented Lives.’ We invite proposals for individual papers or panels of 3-4 papers as well as round-table suggestions on that theme.
The world is fragmented in different ways in our times, due to wealth disparity, migration, and the continuing climate catastrophe. The digital revolution means that lives are now lived online as well as off – where fragmented identities and selves are played out. The recent pandemic can also be said to have fragmented our sense of time. This in turn shapes life writing and self-expression. As Eva Karpinski has argued ‘the autobiographical fragment is uniquely suited to address the discontinuities and ruptures of history, experience, and memory’ (Karpinski 2013), and that is why we turn to this theme to gain new insights into auto/biographical writing.
One of the key issues at stake in auto/biographical narration is memory, and memory is usually incomplete, fragmented. Narrative is at times used to reflect this fragmentation, or it is used to paper over the cracks, to create a cohesive narrative out of a fragmented past. The biographer is also faced with fragmentary knowledge of the past when writing on another’s life, a past which is then pieced together.
We are looking for papers on how lives and life writing can be addressed and examined in light of fragmentation. Themes and issues include, but are not limited to
· fragmented narrative
· fragmented identity
· fragmented ecologies
· fragments of a life
· fragmented genres
· digital fragmentation
· fragmented pasts
Graduate students and early career researchers are especially encouraged to apply individually and with panels. A workshop for this group is also planned and reduced conference fees will be available.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Anna Poletti is associate professor of English at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. They research life writing in contemporary Anglophone media and culture, and specialize in archival research, queer and feminist theory, and cultural studies methodologies. Anna’s research explores two primary themes: 1) the variety of roles life writing plays in contemporary societies, politics and cultures, and 2) the way people use media technologies and material culture to attach meaning to lived experience. Exploring these themes, Anna has published on topics such as Andy Warhol’s use of the cardboard box, digital storytelling, zines, selfies, graphic medicine, and youth-led climate activism. Their books include: Stories of the Self: Life Writing After the Book (New York University Press, 2020), Intimate Ephemera: Reading Young Lives in Australian Zine Culture (Melbourne University Press, 2008), and Life Narratives and Youth Culture: Representation, Agency and Participation (with Kate Douglas, Palgrave 2016). Anna co-edited the Eisner Award-nominated collection Graphic Medicine (with Erin La Cour, University of Hawai’i Press, 2021), and Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online (with Julie Rak, University of Wisconsin Press, 2014). Their first novel (hello, world?) explores online identity, sexuality and gender, and will be published by Semiotext(e) in 2024. With Kate Douglas and John Zuern, Anna is a Series Editor of the book series New Directions in Life Narrative for Bloomsbury.
Erla Hulda Halldórsdóttir is a Professor of Women’s and Gender History at the University of Iceland. She has published works on women’s and gender history, biography, correspondence, and (women’s) historiography. Among her works in Icelandic is the monograph Nútímans konur (Women of Modernity, 2011) in which she relies heavily on correspondence when exploring women’s education and the construction of gender in late 19th century Iceland. In 2020 she co-authored the award-winning book Konur sem kjósa. Aldarsaga (A Centenary of Women Voters, 2020) in which the authors study women’s citizenship and agency in 20th-century Iceland. Among her works in English are articles in Life Writing (2010, 2015) and Women’s History Review (2018). She co-edited Biography, Gender, and History: Nordic Perspectives (2016) and wrote a chapter in The Palgrave Handbook of Auto/Biography (2020). Erla Hulda is now working on two projects related to correspondence and life writing. The first project, publication in 2023, is of 50 love letters written by an Icelandic student in Copenhagen to his fiancé in Iceland, 1825-1832 – before and after he betrayed her. The second, for publication in 2024, is the biography of Sigríður Pálsdóttir (1809-1871) who wrote 250 letters to her brother for half a century. In both these cases only one side of the correspondence has survived.
Please send abstracts (300 words) or panel/round-table suggestions, and short bio (150 words) to IABAWorld2024@gmail.com by 1 October 2023.
For more information see https://iabaworld2024.hi.is/