SAES conference, 2-4 June 2016 in Lyon
Université Jean Moulin – Lyon 3
Main theme: “Confluence(s)”
Proposition d’atelier au Congrès de la SAES, 2-4 juin 2016.
Biography Studies: An Interdisciplinary Confluence
Since the end of the last century, a “biographical turn” has occurred in the Humanities, which, after several decades that have been dominated by the “death of the subject”, place the human individual once again at the heart of debates. The development of researches on autobiography and autofiction in literary studies, the methodology of life writing in the social sciences, have characterized the first phase of this movement. Today, Biography Studies appear as a dynamic emerging field, under way of theorization. Researchers in many countries and various disciplines turn to studying the hitherto underestimated genre of biography. Contemporary literature and cinema display a remarkable interest for biofiction and the biopic. In history, biography asserts itself as an innovating mode of historiography. Researchers of several disciplines are pulling together around the recently founded Biography Society (www.biographysociety.org), to animate this new research field and to contribute to its theorization.
Anglistics, as a multifarious discipline, is a vantage ground for Biography Studies, not only because of the importance of biography as a genre in English literature, from Izaak Walton and John Aubrey, to Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, to Thomas Carlyle, to Virginia Woolf, Giles Lytton Strachey and the authors of the New Biography, to the Oxford DNB, and the flourishing biographical productions in anglophone countries today; but also because Biography Studies constitute an interdisciplinary zone of confluence, properly speaking, at the crossroads of “civilisation“, literary and cinema studies, history and visual arts. Many French anglicistes are biographers in their own rights, others have developed the study of literary biography around Frédéric Regard, and new projects to study the biopic are in the offing.
This first workshop of The Biography Society is intended as a rallying call to English Studies scholars interested in Biographical Studies in one way or another: it welcomes contributions from researchers of various waters, confirmed academics or doctoral students. Papers can address the practice of biographical writing, offer theoretical reflections on biography, the biopic, biofiction, or biographical dictionaries, explore new biographical approaches to literature, or else propose analyses of remarkable biographers and biographical works in historiography, literature, cinema, or other media. Abstracts for papers focussing on the theme “confluences”, of no more than 300 words, should be addressed before 25 January 2016 to firstname.lastname@example.org.