Category Archives: Call for Papers

CFP: Political Biographies in Literature and Cinema

Political Biographies
in
Literature and Cinema

Abstracts due: April 15, 2017

Biographers have a strong impact on our perception of history. They offer narratives of the lives of political leaders that necessarily defend a thesis of one sort or another, whether they pretend to strive to comprehend how politicians’ individual characters have underpinned their political responses to particular crises, or present an overtly biased portrait of historical figures. Biography scholars Hans Renders and Binne de Haan contend that biography designates “the study of the life of an individual, based on the methods of historical scholarship, with the goal of illuminating what is public, explained and interpreted in part from the perspective of the personal” (Theoretical Discussions of Biography: Approaches from History, Microhistory, and Life Writing, 2). Since the early nineteenth century, journalists have often played the role of political biographers. In the US, for example, reporters writing about figures such as Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln presented themselves as “champions and guardians of American character ideal, attending to the virtues, vices and ‘flaws’ of their subjects” (Shawn J. Parry-Giles, Hillary Clinton in the News, 4). Journalistic reporting has influenced political biography by spotlighting the incongruous gossip that sells newspapers, endowing the media with the power to shape a politician’s public image through calling attention to eye-catching images and sound bite pieces that simplify the political debate into visual clichés and stereotypical phrases. Contributors may question how the individual careers of Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, and Narendra Modi conform to conventional models or translate into a new type of political biography.

This issue of Biography aims to further reflection on the evolution of political biography in a media-saturated context, turning political figures (present and past) into celebrities. It has also become a custom for statesmen to write their own autobiography—and more often in fact to have these ghost-written as first-person biographies of sorts (see Roman Polanski’s 2010 film The Ghost Writer)—during, before, and after their terms of office, thus incorporating their personal path into their political career and vice versa. It is our purpose to question the political content of these literary endeavours undertaken by Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela, Barak Obama, etc., to consider how the politicians’ written and oral words have seeped into other media. An increasing number of politicians have written political biographies, and used this genre to ponder their political choices; Labour backbencher Roy Jenkins’s biography of Churchill is a case in point.

Biographical films (whether fiction or nonfiction) have influenced the generic evolution of biography through promoting a “tabloid culture” that feeds on the private lives of public figures. Considering that political power relies on representation, including visual symbols and rhetorical devices, we aim to foster the analysis of politics and biography as two interweaving strands. Political biofilms should not be analysed as a source of entertainment that discards political analysis; they also build political discourses through specific biographical angles. Some films draw on the hagiographic tradition (e.g. Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln, 2012) whereas others question the relationship between power and the individual (e.g. Errol Morris’s The Fog of War). Biographical documentaries addressing political characters have much in common with the methods of scholarly research, which are also discernible under hybridized forms in various types of docudrama.

Contributors will be interested in bringing to light interferences between different sources, analyzing the construction of political discourses through various biographical channels. To what extent do biographies promote or question the biographee’s political values? What are the limitations of prevailing assumptions (popular and/or academic) about biography’s relationship with history? What models of the political subject do biographies of political figures presuppose, and with what consequences? Articles of general relevance, as well as specific case studies of print or film biographies, are welcome in this special number of Biography, An Interdisciplinary Quarterly on political biographies in literature and cinema.

Potential contributors are asked to submit abstracts of 250–500 words and an abbreviated CV (of all authors) by 15 April 2017 to joanny.moulin@gmail.com and delphine.letort@univ-lemans.fr. We will contact those authors from whom we wish to see full manuscripts by 15 May 2017, and will expect to see those full manuscripts by 1 December 2017.

These manuscripts should be between 6,000 and 8,000 words in length (including notes and bibliography) and should use MLA style, 8th edition. Please also include all authors’ affiliations, emails, and mail contact information in the submission. We welcome inquiries about prospective submissions.

picture: Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011)

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

CFP: Seminar on Biography at the ESSE Conference in Galway, 22 – 26 August 2016

CALL FOR PAPERS
Conference ESSE-13 in Galway (August 22-26, 2016)
Seminar: BIOGRAPHY

Invention - Creative Responsive Theme


Biographical Studies are emerging as a field of research in the humanities, at a crossroads between several disciplines. This seminar would welcome contributions to the study of biography as a genre, considering that it raises specific issues that distinguish it from autobiography. It would equally be interested in approaches to the practice of biography as a method of academic research, from microhistory to literature and cultural studies. For instance, individual papers may address theoretical questions, case studies of particular biographers’ works, the history and the poetics of biography, the impact of the biographical turn, the evolution of biographical dictionaries, or the innovative influences of the biopic and digital humanities.

Conveners :
Pr Joanny Moulin, Aix-Marseille University, joanny.moulin@univ-amu.fr
Pr Hans Renders, University of Groningen, j.w.renders@rug.nl

An edited version of this abstract will appear in The European English Messenger and on the ESSE conference website (seminar S63).

Please note that paper proposals should be addressed to joanny.moulin@univ-amu.fr and j.w.renders@rug.nl. The deadline for accepting paper proposals is March 10, 2016.

Biography Society workshop at the SAES Conference in Lyon – June 2016

 Last updated on 24/05/2016

The Biography Society will be taking part in the SAES conference (Société des Anglicistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur ), 2-4 June 2016 at Lyon III University .

Here are the CALL FOR PAPERS and PROGRAMME for our workshop:

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 info@biographysociety.org

Conveners: Joanny Moulin (PR) joanny.moulin@univ-amu.fr and Maryam Thirriard (PRCE, PhD student) maryam.thirriard@laposte.net.

Programme:

2  June – 3.30 – 6.30 Workshop I

3.30-4.00 – Antoine Capet ”Churchill et ses biographes”

4.00-4.30 – Olivier Frayssé (Paris 4) “Biographie et généalogie: les grands ancêtres: le cas d’Abraham Lincoln”

4.30-5.00 – Karyn Wilson Costa (Aix-Marseille): “Auguste Angellier’s Life of Robert Burns: an Indulgent Biography”

5.00-5.30 – Louis Roux (Saint-Étienne): “Ruth Scrurr: John Aubrey: My Own Life”

5.30-6.00 – Alice Braun (Paris Ouest Nanterre): “When Janet Frame’s biography and autobiography collide”

6.00 – 6.30 – Questions

3 June – 9.00 – 10.30 Workshop II

9.00-9.30 – Taïna Tuhkunen (Angers) : “A real life on a reel: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s biographical picture of Allen Ginsberg (Howl, 2010)”

9.30-10.00 – Delphine Letort (Le Mans) “Adapting and Reenacting the Past in the Political Biopic Selma

10.00-10.30 – Questions

4 June – 9.00 – 10.30 Workshop III

9.00-9.30 – Patricia Godi Tkatchouk (Clermont-Ferrand 2) : “Art and life, or aspects of the original integration of biography in feminist literary criticism to read women poets”

9.30-10.00 – Patrick Di Mascio (Aix-Marseille): “Americanizing Freud: John Huston’s Secret Passion”

10.00 – 10.30 – Questions

4 June – 11.00 – 12.30 Workshop IV

11.00-11.30 – Maryam Thirriard (Aix-Marseille): “Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Harold Nicolson, André Maurois and the ‘New Biography’: Zones of Confluence”

11.30-12.00 – Alex Tremblay (Aix-Marseille); “Lytton Strachey and Biography: The Oddity of True Interpretation”

12.00 – 12.30 – Questions

CFP : Biography Studies : An Interdisciplinary Confluence

 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 info@biographysociety.org.

Conveners: Joanny Moulin (PR) joanny.moulin@univ-amu.fr and Maryam Thirriard (PRCE, PhD student)  maryam.thirriard@laposte.net