Biography, gender and history: Nordic perspectives

Biography, gender and history:
Nordic perspectives


Eds. Erla Hulda Halldórsdóttir, Tiina Kinnunen, Maarit Leskelä-Kärki, Birgitte Possing

New publication on biography and history by the book series Cultural history – Kulttuurihistoria at the University of Turku
http://www.utu.fi/fi/yksikot/hum/yksikot/kulttuurihistoria/tutkimus/culturalhistory/Sivut/home.aspx

How to construct a life of a nineteenth-century Icelandic ordinary woman? What perspectives does surveillance material open up when exploring an individual? How to use portraits as biographical clues? What do group biographies or pair biographies add to the genre of historical biography?

This book, with contributions by scholars from various Nordic countries, reflects the biographical turn that has influenced Nordic historical research during the past few decades. It is a contribution to the growing international interest in, and theorisation of, biography and biographical research as a method of doing history. The individual chapters focus on challenges of gender, context, and relationality in biographical research, and develop the methodologies of biographical research further.

This is an excellent volume covering a significant gap in the interdisciplinary field of historical and biographical writing not only in the Nordic milieu but more widely; it does so from a rich range of perspectives, theoretical and methodological approaches, as well as biographical case studies. It is indeed a rare contribution in the life-writing literature.’
– Professor Maria Tamboukou (University of East London)

Contact person:
Maarit Leskelä-Kärki, Maarit.leskela@utu.fi
Book orders: https://utushop.utu.fi/p/1900-biography-gender-and-history-nordic-perspectives/

Biography, gender and history: Nordic perspectives
Eds. Erla Hulda Halldórsdóttir, Tiina Kinnunen, Maarit Leskelä-Kärki, Birgitte Possing

Contents of the book

Erla Hulda Halldórsdóttir, Tiina Kinnunen, Maarit Leskelä-Kärki
Doing biography

I GENRE

Birgitte Possing
How does one relate a complex life? Reflections on a polyphonic portrait of the minister and intellectual Bodil Koch (1903–1973)

Christina Carlsson Wetterberg
Biography as a way of challenging gender stereotypes: Reflections on writing about the Swedish author and feminist Frida Stéenhoff (1865–1945)

II GENDER

Erla Hulda Halldórsdóttir
A biography of her own: The historical narrative and Sigríður Pálsdóttir (1809–1871)

Antti Harmainen
Group biography as an approach to studying manhood and religion in late nineteenth-century Finland

Kristine Kjærsgaard
Love and emotions in the diplomatic world: the relationship between Bodil Begtrup’s public and private lives, 1937–1956

III  CONTEXT

Tiina Kinnunen
‘Fighting sisters’: A comparative biography of Ellen Key (1849–1926) and Alexandra Gripenberg (1857–1913) in the contested field of European feminisms

Irene Andersson
Telling stories of gendered space and place: the political agency of the Swedish communist Valborg Svensson (1903–1983)

IV RELATIONS

Maarit Leskelä-Kärki
Remembering mother: Relations and memory in the biographical project on Minna Krohn (1841–1917)

Heini Hakosalo
Coming together: early Finnish medical women and the multiple levels of historical biography

Kaisa Vehkalahti
Bad girl biographies: Child welfare documents as gendered biographies

Tiina Kinnunen, Maarit Leskelä-Kärki, Erla Hulda Halldórsdóttir, Birgitte Possing
Afterword: Future challenges

CFP :  (Re) Constructing Lives

Annual Conference of the SAES
Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne
1-3 June 2017

Workshop of the Biography Society

Do biographies necessarily impose on lives an artificial pattern? Is not a life already a construction, quite apart from any attempt to write about it? If, on the one hand, biography may serve the ideological purpose of ceaselessly constructing and reconstructing idealized lives of iconic historical figures, on the other hand, it may just as well work the other way around. If biography can serve the purposes of myth-making, modern biography is more often than not an investigation, de-constructing the lives of historical personages to re-construct them on a more true-to-life basis. For instance, in a distant past, James Anthony Froude’s Life of Carlyle scandalized his contemporaries by knocking the great man off his pedestal, paving the way for Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians, and much more recently the biographies of C. G. Jung by Richard Noll and Ronald Hayman, reconstructing the life of the Swiss psychologist in a very iconoclastic light, or again Pierre Péan’s François Mitterand, Un jeunesse française, unearthing once more the socialist leader’s commitment with the Vichy government.

This workshop will particularly welcome contributions looking at the positioning of biographies relatively to this ideological notion of “construction”. Other papers may concentrate rather on the biographers’ narrative discourse as a process of re-constructing those parts or sides of their subjects’ lives that have been erased out of historical document, whether intentionally or accidentally—a limit case in this respect is Ivan Jablonka’s Laetitia, and the use of ‘fictions de méthode’ to investigate the gaps. Another direction worth exploring would be the way in which, biographical information about an author/an artist may drastically inflect the reception of his/her work.

Submission: Please send a (provisional) title before 20 January 2017, and an abstract of no more that 200 words before 1st March to Joanny Moulin, joanny.moulin@univ-amu.fr.

 

congres2017.saesfrance.org

“Based upon a Life”: The Biopic Genre in Question

See original image

vol. XIV-n°2 | 2016

“Based upon a Life”: The Biopic Genre in Question

« Inspiré d’une vie » : le genre biopic en question

Edited by Delphine Letort and Taïna Tuhkunen.

 

While George F. Custen defines a biopic (biographical film) as a depiction of “the life of a historical person, past or present” (Bio/Pics, How Hollywood Constructed Public History, 1992, 5), he also considers the impact of celebrities and stars as “key historical figures” whose public persona may interfere with the genre’s historical discourse. More recently, Ellen Cheshire has asked if this “maligned and misunderstood genre” is, in reality, a genre of its own (Bio-Pics: A Life in Pictures, 2015, 3). Biopics have indeed sparked off a number of on-going debates, not merely due to their claims of veracity, but through their practice of gender politics, intertextuality, reflexivity, and their hagiographic roots capable of impacting the narrative modes, visual and discursive strategies perpetuated by contemporary “life stories” on screen. This issue of Revue LISA/LISA e-journal explores the various mechanisms, conventions and patterns underlying the construction of “exceptional destinies” on screen (cinema/television).

Contents:
  • Delphine Letort and Taïna Tuhkunen
    « Inspiré d’une vie » : le genre biopic en question
    “Based upon a Life”: The Biopic Genre in Question
  • Joanny Moulin
    Biophoty: The Biofilm in Biography Theory
    La biophotie : le biofilm dans la théorie de la biographie
  • Rémi Fontanel
    Le biopic du sportif américain
    American Sports Biopics
  • Delphine Letort
    Flirting with Controversy: Making Biopics about Truman Capote
    Flirter avec la controverse : les biopics sur Truman Capote
  • Jules Sandeau
    Katharine Hepburn en reine de cœur : Mary of Scotland (John Ford, 1936)
    Katharine Hepburn as Queen of Hearts: Mary of Scotland (John Ford, 1936)
  • Claire Demoulin
    Les biopics d’hommes politiques : des « films de discours » ? Croisements esthétiques, rhétoriques et politiques autour du film Le Discours d’un roi
    Political Biopics as Films of Speeches: aesthetic, rhetorical and political discussions around The King’s Speech
  • Hélène Charlery
    HBO’s Black Women Artist Biopics: The Josephine Baker Story and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
    Les biopics de HBO sur les artistes noires américaines : The Josephine Baker Story et Introducing Dorothy Dandridge
  • Nicole Cloarec
    The Secret Life of Secret Agents: Alan Bennett and John Schlesinger’s An Englishman Abroad (1983) and A Question of Attribution (1991)
    La vie secrète des agents doubles : An Englishman Abroad (1983) et A Question of Attribution (1991) d’Alan Bennett et John Schlesinger
    Varia:
    • Olivier Richomme
      La fin de la diversité ? Démantèlement jurisprudentiel du Voting Rights Act aux États-Unis
      The End of Diversity? Jurisprudential Deconstruction of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in the US
Revue LISA / LISA e-journal is a bilingual peer-reviewed international on-line publication. LISA welcomes researchers from France and abroad ‎who are interested in pluri-, trans- or inter- disciplinary studies in fields including cultural ‎studies, literature, philosophy or the history of ideas, the visual arts, music, media studies, ‎sociology, history and anthropology within the English-speaking world although comparative ‎studies with other geographical areas will also be considered.

The Biographical Turn: Lives in History – H.Renders, B. de Haan, J. Harmsma.

Edited by Hans Renders, Binne de Haan, Jonne Harmsma
222 pages
© 2017 – Routledge

Paperback: 9781138939714
pub: 2016-09-28
Hardback: 9781138939707
pub: 2016-09-26

 

The Biographical Turn showcases the latest research through which the field of biography is being explored. Fifteen leading scholars in the field present the biographical perspective as a scholarly research methodology, investigating the consequences of this bottom-up approach and illuminating its value for different disciplines.

While biography has been on the rise in academia since the 1980s, this volume highlights the theoretical implications of the biographical turn that is changing the humanities. Chapters cover subjects such as gender, religion, race, new media and microhistory, presenting biography as a research methodology suited not only for historians but also for explorations in areas including literature studies, sociology, economics and politics. By emphasizing agency, the use of primary sources and the critical analysis of context and historiography, this book demonstrates how biography can function as a scholarly methodology for a wide range of topics and fields of research.

International in scope, The Biographical Turn emphasizes that the individual can have a lasting impact on the past and that lives that are now forgotten can be as important for the historical narrative as the biographies of kings and presidents. It is a valuable resource for all students of biography, history and historical theory.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

List of contributors

Introduction

1 The Biographical Turn: Biography as Critical Method in the Humanities and in Society

Hans Renders, Binne de Haan and Jonne Harmsma

 

Section 1: The Biographical Turn in the Humanities

2 Biography as Corrective

Nigel Hamilton

3 The Plurality of the Past: Historical Time and the Rediscovery of Biography

Sabina Loriga

4 The Life Is Never Over: Biography as a Microhistorical Approach

Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon

5 Personalized History: Biofiction, Source Criticism and the Topicality of Biography

Binne de Haan

6 The Life Effect: Literature Studies and the Biographical Perspective

Joanny Moulin

7 Biography as a Concept of Thought: On the Premises of Biographical Research and Narrative

Christian Klein

 

Section 2: The Biographical Turn in Fields of Knowledge

8 Biographies as Multipliers: The First World War as Turning Point in the Lives of Modernist Artists

Hans Renders and Sjoerd van Faassen

9 ‘Honest Politics’: A Biographical Perspective on Economic Expertise as a Political Style

Jonne Harmsma

10 Rediscovering Agency in the Atlantic: A Biographical Approach Linking Entrepreneurial Spirit and Overseas Companies

Kaarle Wirta

11 Building Bridges to Past Centuries: Religion and Empathy in Early Modern Biography

Enny de Bruijn

12 Palatable and Unpalatable Leaders: Apartheid and Post-Apartheid Afrikaner Biography

Lindie Koorts

 

Section 3: The Biographical Turn in Academia and Society

13 Biography Is Not A Selfie: Authorization as the Creeping Transition from Autobiography to Biography

Hans Renders

14 What Are We Turning From? Research and Ideology in Biography and Life Writing

Craig Howes

15 Liberation From Low Dark Space: Biography Beside and Beyond the Academy

Carl Rollyson

16 From Academic Historian to Popular Biographer: Musings on the Practical Poetics of Biography

Debby Applegate

 

Bibliography

Index

Prochaines séances du SEMINAIRE “BIOGRAPHIE” 14 et 15 décembre 2016

Conférence du Séminaire Biographie

Jeudi 15 décembre à 17h – Maison de la Recherche – salle 2.44

Taïna Tuhkunen

Professeur des universités en études américaines à l’Université d’Angers

« Inspiré d’une vie » : le genre biopic en question

Définissant le biopic (film biographique/biographie filmée) comme la représentation de « la vie d’un personnage historique, passé ou présent », George F. Custen fait le constat que les stars et les célébrités sont également des « figures historiques emblématiques » dont l’image publique peut interférer avec le discours historique véhiculé par ces films (Bio/Pics, How Hollywood Constructed Public History, 1992, 5). Plus récemment, Ellen Cheshire a demandé si ce genre « calomnié et incompris » constitue un genre à part (Bio-Pics: A Life in Pictures, 2015, 3). Le biopic est, en effet, à l’origine de nombreuses controverses, non seulement en raison de sa prétention à la véracité historique, mais par sa praxis de l’intertextualité et de la réflexivité, ses dichotomies sexuelles, ou bien son attachement, encore aujourd’hui, à la tradition hagiographique susceptible d’affecter les stratégies visuelles et narratives des récits de vie filmiques. Ce numéro de la Revue LISA/LISA e-journal explore les divers mécanismes, modalités et conventions sur lesquels s’appuie la construction des « destins exceptionnels » à l’écran (cinéma/télévision).

Notez la publication dans

XIV-n°2 | 2016“Based upon a Life”: The Biopic Genre in Question

Conférence du Séminaire Biographie

Mercredi 14 décembre à 17h – Maison de la Recherche – salle 2.44

Tobias Heinrich

Austrian Lektor in German literature and language at New College, University of Oxford

Exemplary lives ­ Why we read biographies and what German Enlightenment has to say about it

Biographies are and have been since the eighteenth century one of the most popular genres on the book market: whether it be Plutarch’s lives of Alexander and Caesar, Hermione Lee’s award­winning biography of Virgina Woolf or Walter Isaacson’s best­selling book on Steve Jobs. This talk is going to examine the reasons for our ongoing fascination with biographies. In this respect, it will look at the German Enlightenment and the advocates of biography as the key genre of a hermeneutic worldview. The thoroughly modern assumption that man can be readable like a book is merged with older models of edification and spiritual formation through literature, resulting in the notion that we can acquire authority over our own biography only through the lens of the lives of others.

"Biography Theory & Practice" is the blog of a research network in biographical studies<hr />"Biography Theory & Practice" est le carnet d'un réseau de recherche en études biographiques.