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IABA 2016 Conference: Excavating Lives
May 26-29, 2016, University of Cyprus

The tenth IABA World conference, "Excavating Lives," will be held at the University of Cyprus. The conference organisers welcome proposals on any topic related to discovery and the absent, hidden or veiled life. In what ways do life writers unearth the past? How are lives layered, erased, replaced, and/or preserved? And how has life writing changed over time, creating possibilities for new definitions?
In Nicosia, the only divided capital in the world, and on an island with a cultural landscape marked by numerous open as well as unexcavated archaeological sites, we consider life writing within the context of liminal spaces, borders, and hidden places.
Join us in Cyprus as we consider lives in an archaeological context, across political, cultural, and social divides, on an island whose rich history has been shaped by conflict and resolution, trauma and healing, forgetting and remembering.
We welcome abstracts from all fields across the humanities as well as papers and presentations from creative writers / arts practitioners.
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent as email attachments to by October 10, 2015. Decisions will be made by October 31, 2015.
Paper topics can include, but are not limited to:
Life as palimpsest
Life writing as discovery
(Dis)closure and revelation
Recording lives - biography and memoir
Exposure - life writing and human rights
Visibility/invisibility in digital lives
Life writing and borders
Life writing and absences/appearances
Life writing and multimediated lives
Memory and crisis
Personal and public memory
Narrative and truth
The space between fiction and nonfiction
Truth as exposure
History's inaccuracies/anxieties
The importance of life writing in ecology and pedagogy
Conference organisers: Stephanos Stephanides, University of Cyprus; Amy-Katerini Prodromou, University of Cyprus; Stavros Karayanni, European University of Cyprus; Polina Mackay, University of Nicosia.

Conference Life of Testimony / Testimony of Lives
May 5-6, 2016, Queen Mary University of London (UK)

Testimony evokes first and foremost legal connotations and images of the courtroom. In this context testimony is bound by strict procedural conventions and the act of testifying in a courtroom can incur actual legal consequences. Outside of the courtroom, however, life-writing (in its broadest sense) can serve as a form of testimony which, while not necessarily causing specific legal ramifications, presents a life’s experience for judgment by the public. This relationship between an idea of testimony and the practice of life-writing is twofold: on the one hand, authors of life-writing may have certain testimonial or confessional intentions and use writing as a way of bearing witness. Readers, on the other hand, may interpret various forms of life-writing as testimony even if the author’s intentions about recording their experience are unknown. The act of interpreting or employing life-writing as testimony thus demands ethical scrutiny from readers as well as scholars using such materials.
This conference aims to explore the notion of testimony as an idea that pervades the practice, reception and interpretation of life-writing across time periods, academic disciplines and literatures. We are interested in testimony as a broad concept, and hope to investigate its scope and impact as an interpretive lens through which the breadth of life-writing can be viewed. Not only does testimony bear witness to the lives of individuals, it takes on a life (and even an afterlife) of its own as it is read and reinterpreted throughout history.
Confirmed Keynotes: Professor Paul Strohm (Columbia University), Professor Roger Woods (Nottingham University).
Papers are invited from all scholars (including postgraduate students) across the fields of (comparative) literature, history, philosophy, art, cultural studies, religious studies, curation and conservation of archival material, memory studies, and film studies. Topics could include but are not limited to:
· The ethics of producing, reading and interpreting life-writing as a form of testimony
· Stylistic, rhetorical and aesthetic dimensions of life-writing
· The relationship between authors and readers of life-writing
· Truth and subjectivity
· The afterlife of testimony
· Images as testimony
· Culture as testimony, eg. published diaries of Holocaust survivors
· Persuasion and manipulation of and within life-writing sources
· Instrumentalisation of life-writing for political purposes
· Life-writing as (historical) evidence and the act of bearing witness
· Life-writing and the law
· Reappropriation and adaptation of life-writing in popular culture
· History and the individual
· Challenges and conditions of writing lives
The conference will be hosted at Queen Mary University of London (Arts Two lecture theatre) on 5 and 6 May 2016, the registration fee will be £35,-/£20,- (non-concession/concession).
Please submit a short abstract (c. 300 words) and a short bio (c. 100 words) to Lotte Fikkers and Melissa Schuh at by Sunday 17 January 2016. Notification of acceptance will be given by 8 February 2016.

Making Individual Memory Visible in the Public Space. Third ISA Forum
10-14 July 2016, Vienna (Austria)

Both traditional historical and classical memory narratives were greatly determined by the recollection of the figure of the hero. National identities were built around the heroic deeds of the great man who then served as historical, social and cultural models for the particular society. Within this process of inscribing the exemplarity of heroes into collective memory the public space (through its statues, street names, memorial plaques and other memorial signs) typically played an essential role. What happens, however, when the everyday man takes over the urban space?
Both social history and qualitative sociology (especially biographical research) “discovered” the everyday men behind macro historical events: these trends cannot imagine the understanding of society without the understanding of the experiences of the individual.
The proposed session intends to elaborate the relationship of individual memories and the urban space in the format of a regular session, focusing on the following questions: How does the biography of everyday man become articulated in the urban space and how does others’ biographical presentation affect its own? How do urban experiences and public representations become part of the narration of the individual’s life story? How do memories of the everyday man increasingly flood the public space (see examples commemorating everyday man such as the Stolpersteine project) and how does the individual challenge particular memorials (see vandalization of statues)? How do collective and individual processes of remembering mutually shape each other in and through the urban space?

Abstract Submission: 14 April 2015 - 30 September 2015 24:00 GMT
Anyone interested in presenting a paper should submit an abstract on-line to the session on the following link:

Seminar Biography at 13th ESSE Conference
22-26 August 2016, Galway, Ireland
Deadline proposals: February 28, 2016

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.
Paper proposals should be addressed to the conveners:
Pr Joanny Moulin, Aix-Marseille University,
Pr Hans Renders, University of Groningen,