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Hornung, Alfred, ed. American Lives. Heidelberg: Winter, 2013

This volume focuses on religious, historical, literary, cultural and political models, developed in America, for the realization and representation of American lives. These original articles demonstrate the importance of different forms of life writing for the disciplines of American Studies. Experts in the field such as literary and cultural critics Sidonie Smith, Craig Howes, Birgit Däwes, historian Thomas Bender, and writer critic Siri Hustvedt among others cover the wide range of the presentation and performance of selves in colonial literature, nature writing, immigrant and campaign auto/biographies, religion, film, TV series, rap music, graphic presentations, comics, and sports. Addressing the transnational self-affirmations of American citizens in Hawai'i, the Caribbean islands, on reservations, and in urban ghettos they represent the diversified panorama of American lives.
With contributions by Alfred Hornung, Sidonie Smith, Thomas Bender, Craig Howes, Birgit Däwes, Siri Hustvedt, Patrick Erben, Carsten Junker, Kirsten Twelbeck, Hannah Spahn, Kathleen Loock, Markus Faltermeier, Kathy-Ann Tan, Cedric Essi, Christina Gerken, Jochen Ecke, Lukas Etter, Eva Boesenberg, Nassim Winnie Balestrini, Birgit M. Bauridl, Katja Kanzler, Dustin Breitenwischer, Christoph Ribbat, Frank Mehring, Julia Faisst, Birgit Capelle, Dirk Vanderbeke, Henrike Lehngut, Martin Holtz, Jan D. Kucharzewski, Mita Banerjee, Ralf Dahm, Norbert W. Paul, Julia Watson.

Before, Beside and After the Biographical Narrative
6-9 March 2014, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg (Germany)

The Life History and Biography Network of the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults first met in Geneva in 1994 and has provided the basis for diverse and influential publications, as well as for major collaborative research projects and many other forms of collaboration. The network has explored in the last years‘ conferences areas of research and practice in life history and biography/autobiography/auto/biography that have been neglected perhaps (the body, wisdom) and those which are of growing interest: emotions, words, interdisciplinary research, agency and structure.
The field(s) of life history and biography research are very much characterised by schools of practice, by national boundaries. The convenors and the organizer of the 2014 conference recognize this and wish to explore the possibilities of crossing some of the boundaries of practice, some of the frontiers dividing country-specific cultures of research, crossing, too, some of the persistently obstinate linguistic boundaries/barriers that, we feel, impoverish the debate that is central to a vigorous field of research such as ours patently is.
Thus, the Magdeburg conference wishes to concentrate both on the contents and the results of our research, as well as on how we do our work. We would all agree that the narratives – in the widest sense of the term – that we elicit, collect, listen to, record, film, transcribe, analyse and communicate (and co-construct) are located at the very core of our theory and practice. All the more reason, we feel, to take this opportunity to turn our attention to what "goes in" to the biographical narratives in our research.
For this reason we have chosen the title "Before, Beside and After the Biographical Narrative" with the aim of opening up a discussion around the "before" and "after" of people's biographical processes, that is, turning our attention, besides to our more visible practices, as well to that which isn't protocolled, transcribed, described, or presented and yet which is in the stories, and is an intrinsic part of the narratives. In attending to different aspects of the biographical experience - voice, bodily expression, relationships, silences, signs, unconscious processes and so on - we can ask important questions about our perspectives, our methods, our writings, our discussions.
In our conference, we want to help create spaces for dialogue, demonstration, reflexivity and discovery. There will be a series of keynotes from internationally renowned colleagues, dialogues /round tables, alongside individual papers and symposia, focusing on our theme of before, beside and beyond the biographical narrative and the importance of this in researching learning lives.
Abstracts (max. 500 words) should be submitted by 30th September 2013 to the conference organiser at:
The proposals for papers, symposia, workshops, posters will be blind reviewed by the Scientific Committee. Acceptance will be announced by 31st October 2013
Conference languages: English, French, German.

Writing and Reading Russian Biography in the 19th and 20th centuries
14-16 March 2014, University College, Oxford (UK)

Keynote speaker: Jochen Hellbeck. Other speakers: Andrei Zorin, Nathaniel Knight, Duccio Colombo, Tania Voronina, Page Herrlinger, Ludmilla A. Trigos, Carol Ueland, Angela Brintlinger, Marsha Siefert, Polly Jones, Ben Eklof, Lynne Hartnett, Ivan Peshkov, Jon Stone, Galina Rylkova, Sasha Smith, Lina Bernstein, Julie Curtis, Denis Sdvizkov, Stephen M. Norris, Anatoly Pinsky, Andrea Gullotta, Philip Bullock, Margarita Vaysman, Vicky Davis, Dan Healey.
Registration and programme:

Letters and Letter Writing
18-20 March 2014, Prague (Czech Republic)

The letter has been one of the most important forms of communication over thousands of years across many cultures and continents. Whether personal, professional or an open statement of intent it can covey the most intimate messages or declare the most inflammatory of declarations. It can be delivered by hand, by postman, by pigeon, by bottle, by smartphone, by internet connection or even by space ship. It can be cherished, collected, published, censored, blogged, stolen, steamed open, torn up, buried, displayed. It can be written on paper, papyrus, skin, in the sand, in wax, on sweet wrappers and on computer screens. It can be written with quills, pens, keyboards, chalk and in ink, in blood, in lemon juice, in light, with love, with hate, with desperation, with pride, with humiliation and with satisfaction. Correspondingly, it can take seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks or even years to reach its destination, whether sent to someone in the next room, or via a time capsule to people 50 years in the future. A letter is not just the means to communicate to others, but a way in which we communicate who, what and where we are and the times that we live in, consequently, being as much about the interconnectedness of identity, place and culture through time as it is about the immediate connection to those around us.
This confernce on the forms, materials and methods used to connect to ourselves and to others in and through time invites abstracts on any historical period or geographical location.
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 11th October 2013.If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 17th January 2014.
Information about the conference and the requirements for abstracts:

The Future of Holocaust Testimonies III. An International Conference and Workshop
25-27 March 2014, Akko, Israel

The Holocaust Studies Program of Western Galilee College, Yad Vashem and the Ghetto Fighters House announce a third international interdisciplinary conference and workshop on The Future of Holocaust Testimonies.
Holocaust survivors and their testimonies have been, for many years, prominent in Holocaust memorial culture. As survivors pass away, critical focus inevitably moves to the legacy they leave behind: especially in the forms of written, audio and video testimonies. Scholarly work on survivor testimony is done today in many academic disciplines including history, literary analysis, linguistics, cultural criticism, psychology, neuroscience, sociology, etc. The rich and varied and corpus of testimonies requires the collaborative effort of researchers across disciplines to enable us to hear the voices of survivors articulated through their testimonies.
We aim for the conference to contribute both to Holocaust research and to public discourse. Therefore, one day of the conference will be open to the public, while two days will be for researchers only. The conference will be conducted in English. The open public day will be conducted in English and Hebrew with simultaneous translation.

The Ethics of War and Conflict in Graphic Narratives

3-6 April 2014, The Hague (the Netherlands)

The annual conference of the European Association for American Studies (EAAS) will host a session on 'Ethics of War and Conflict in Graphic Narratives'. We seek papers by Americanists from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds who are interested in the ways that graphic narratives address the ethical dimensions of war and conflict.
We are using the term “graphic narrative” (cf. Chute and deKoven) here to refer to a variety of genres in comic book format because it usefully covers comic strips, superhero comics, graphic reportage, autobiographical comics, etc. From the human rights reportage of Joe Sacco to the graphic memoirs of Art Spiegelman and Keiji Nakazawa, from the rhetorics of justice that structure superhero comics to the ways that culture wars get framed through political cartooning, all forms of comics art both reflect and participate in the production of various ethical considerations.
These ethical considerations include but are not limited to: discourses of justice, recognition, and human rights; the politics of spectatorship and emotion; the costs of war on both the private level and in the public realm; the politics of nationalism, citizenship, and belonging; the construction of masculinity/femininity in the context of war; racial and ethnic stereotyping in war-related comics.
Proposals for this session can address any form of the comics medium from any time period and can also focus on non-American comics, although proposals must demonstrate how the topic comments or frames “America” in some way. We are particularly interested in papers that examine the links between comics ethics and comics form, the way the form itself (frames, gutters, drawing style, sequential effects, the interaction between words and images, the connections between drawing and photography etc.) has the potential to speak to larger ethical considerations. In addition, we are also particularly interested in papers that contextualize comics by using critical and cultural theory.
Ideally, this workshop would also lay the foundations for the creation of a comics research network amongst Americanists in Europe and beyond. In this way, we would like to use a small portion of the workshop time to brainstorm the possibilities of building such a network.
Note: Speakers must be members of their national Association for American Studies if there exists one in their home country. Speakers from Canada, Israel, Japan, and the USA must be members of their respective American Studies Associations, or of another organization with an appropriate focus (OAH, APSA, etc.). All presentations will be 20-minutes. The conference allows for a maximum of 2 sessions with 3-4 presenters in each. We can therefore accept up to 8 papers.
Please send an abstract between 300 and 500 words by October 1st to the workshop chairs: Rebecca Scherr: and Mihaela

Writing Women’s Lives: Auto/Biography, Life Narratives, Myths and Historiography
19-20 April 2014, Yeditepe University, Istanbul (Turkey)

The symposium will discuss women's life writing, including biography and autobiography, letters, diaries, memoirs, family histories, case histories and other ways in which women's lives have been recorded. The call is open to various genres and national, regional and global cultural traditions of women's life writings as well as to papers on the related areas of women's oral traditions, oral history research, testimonies, and the representation of women's lives in all possible verbal and non-verbal art forms, such as documentaries, video, art, etc.
Abstracts should be sent in English, but the presentations might be either in English or in Turkish. The maximum time allowed for any presentation will be 20 minutes. The organizing committee is working to provide simultaneous translation during the symposium. Abstracts of papers should be 250-500 words in length (in English only) and must include “the name of the writer and the affiliation”, a “short biodata” and the “contact addresses” (e-mail, postal address, phone and fax number). All documents must be submitted, before 30 November 2013, electronically via email to: Selected papers will be published in the forthcoming symposium proceedings.

Crises and ruptures in memory and narrative
23-26 April 2014, Oral History and Life Stories Network - European Social Science History Conference (ESSHC), Vienna (Austria)

The Oral History and Life Stories Network brings together oral historians and life story practitioners who use oral histories to explore memory, narrative and history. It has become the major regular international forum for European oral history and life story researchers.
The European Social Science History Conference has been held biannually since 1996 and the Oral History and Life Stories network has met at each conference since 1998. Oral History and Life Stories is currently one of the largest, friendliest and most popular networks of the European Social Science Conference.
We invite proposals for the Vienna ESSHC-conference on 23-26 April 2014 both for individual papers and for sessions. Sessions can have various formats: panels, round table discussions, presentations in other media followed by discussion.
We invite contributions discussing conceptual and methodological issues related to the representation of crises and ruptures (private, public, personal and/or political) in oral history with specific reference to memory and narrative. We welcome contributions from both oral historians and life story practitioners but with the focus on oral testimonies.
We are especially encouraging contributions addressing disrupted memories and silences. This might be with reference to place or to the relationship between the local and global and/or between individual and social memory. We would hope for analyses of positive as well as negative impacts of crises and ruptures.
We would welcome proposals addressing the following issues:
• Ruptures and Crises: Making sense of the past or rewriting history?
• Rupture, repressed memories and trauma
• Crises and positive changes in re/constructing identities
• Breaking with the past and reshaping memory
• Narratives and memories of globalization and resistance
• Transnational and national narratives of Europe
• (Re)presenting selves and others: multiculturalism, crises and memory
• ‘Composure’ and ‘discomposure’ in the construction of narratives
In addition we would also like to see presentations that:
· Explore methodological changes and challenges for working and researching with oral history in different disciplinary fields
· Address challenges facing the oral history method; including how attitudes to interviewing and being interviewed have changed; new ways of analyzing interviews; as well as approaches to archiving
· Compare written texts with oral sources in relation to the themes listed above
· Discuss the social function of oral history archives in relation to crises and historical disruption (including re-use of interviews produced by earlier projects)
· Explore emotions, sensory and embodied memories in relation to the themes above.
Finally, we would like to encourage specific panels on oral history and its use in education, and on research combining oral history and audio-visual research (again with reference to this year’s theme of rupture and crises).
Please send your proposals to Graham Smith (, Andrea Strutz ( and Timothy Ashplant (
Upon submission you must also pre-register on the conference website where more general conference information is available.
Panel proposals should be submitted by the intended chair(s) of the panel, and include details of each of the papers proposed. The deadline for sending your abstract is May 15, 2013.

Early Modern Memory
8-9 May 2014, University of Worcester (UK)

The objective of this conference is to contribute to the study of cultural memory in the early modern era (1500-1800) through a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach.
With this in mind, we ask the following questions: how did men and women of this period remember and forget? Which stories were ‘permissible’ and which ‘prohibited’, from a social, personal, and political standpoint? How did representations of the past determine the present and shape the future? In what ways did the various discourses of the past determine collective and individual identities? What were the strategies and practices of memory? To what degree were non-official or repressed forms of cultural memory influential? What were the relations between memory and monuments in the early modern period? How can we understand the dual nature of early modern monuments: as tools of ideologically driven memory (fixed memory) and/or as constant sources of memory construction and influence? What were the connections between culturally inherited memories and individual memories? How did technological developments influence the process of forgetting, remembering, and/or commemorating the past? How did the role of cultural memory influence the relationship between historical research and images of the past in various early modern societies and cultures?
The overall aim of the conference is to explore the role of cultural memories in the early modern period in their broad contexts and so the conference aims at fostering a critical dialogue beyond the boundaries set by various disciplines.
Papers from various disciplines and fields are most welcomed. Submissions of proposals for fully-formed panels and suggestions for workshops are also encouraged. We hope that due to its interdisciplinary nature, the conference will bring many interesting observations on and discussions of the role of cultural memory in the early modern period.
Deadline for proposals: 1 November 2013.

Legal Bodies: Corpus / Persona / Communitas
15-17 May 2014, Leiden University (the Netherlands)

On May 15-16-17 2014, LUCAS (the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society) will host a three-day conference on the various ways in which literary and artistic texts have represented, interrogated or challenged juridical notions of ‘personhood’. The guiding assumption behind our conference is that ‘personhood’ is not a (biologically) given, stable property of human beings (which precedes their interaction with the law), but that ‘personhood’ is assigned to selected (and historically varying) ‘bodies’ by discursive regimes, such as those of law, medicine, politics, religion, and education. During the conference we will study how literature, art and culture form domains in which the implications and scope of legal, political or medical conceptualizations of personhood can be dramatized and thought through, and in which alternative understandings of personhood can be proposed and disseminated.
The symposium broaches the question of personhood on three different levels: those of the body, the individual and the community. Questions to be addressed include (but are not limited to), firstly: From which discourses did notions of bodily integrity historically emerge? Which social, political and medical developments are currently challenging these notions? How do artistic, cultural and socio-political phenomena (such as bio-art, body horror, the right-to-die movement, etc.) invite us to rethink our notion of the human body? Second, what literary and rhetorical figures made it possible to think of legal personhood in antiquity, the middle ages and the modern era? What is the legal status of ‘not-quite persons,’ such as children, illegal immigrants, the mentally disabled, the unborn and the undead? What could ‘animal personhood’ entail? Finally: how do collective bodies acquire personhood? How did art and literature represent legal entities such as the medieval city, the seventeenth century trade company or the nineteenth century corporation? Or what is the legally defined status of sects, networks, conspiracies, and resistance movements?
400-word proposals for 20-minute papers can be send to Frans-Willem Korsten, Nanne Timmer and Yasco Horsman (LUCAS, Leiden) at
Deadline: 14 February 2014

Auto/biography in Transit. 9th International Association for Biography and Autobiography (IABA) Conference
29 May-1 June 2014, Banff Centre, Canada

The IABA Canada conference team welcomes submissions for the ninth IABA
conference, to be held at the Banff Centre in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
This conference will focus on the themes of transit and transition as a way to think about how lives, narratives and other forms of self representation are constantly in motion. What does it mean for texts and identities to be in transit across national borders, genres, media and languages? The study of auto/biography and life writing is also in transit: where have we been, and where should we be going as a field?
In Alberta, Canada, a place that has often been conceptualized as the "frontier," we invite proposals from a wide range of disciplines about what it means when identities and representations of many kinds push at political and conceptual boundaries. Topics can include but are not limited to the following:
·The state of the field---past trajectories, new directions
·Genre, social action and auto/biography
·Public transit: famous, infamous, ordinary lives
·Transitory stories: making identity across and through borders
·Auto/biographical frontiers
·Traveling as identity and as work
·Indigenous stories in transition
·Transnational lives and the idea of place
·Get outside (the human): ecocriticism, the biosphere, animal life
·Networked selves: new media in transit
·Life History and anthropology
·Updates: diaries, letters, blogs, Pinterest, tumblr, and more
·Literary movements and life writing
·Being moved: affect and narrative
·Trans/it: queering life stories
·Life Studies: pedagogical issues and approaches
Please send 300-word abstracts as email attachments to by September 10, 2013. *Decisions will be made by September 30.

Biographica sub specie semiticae. The 6th Annual Lotman Conference at Tallinn University
30 May-1 June 2014, Tallinn (Estonia)

The Estonian Semiotics Repository Foundation is inviting submissions for the 6th Lotman conference at Tallinn University, 30 May – 1 June 2014. It is the tradition of our conferences to take inspiration from the scholarly legacy of Juri Lotman. This year the conference engages with Lotman’s texts that approach the problematics of (auto)biographical signification semiotically: “The Poetics of Everyday Behaviour in Eighteenth-Century Russian Culture“, “The Decembrist in Daily Life: Everyday Behaviour as a Historical-Psychological Category”, “Concerning Khlestakov”, “'Agreement' and 'Self-Giving' as Archetypal Models of Culture”, etc.
The possible topics include, but are not limited to:
· Semiotic mechanisms in the production of (auto)biographical texts
· “Right to a biography” as a cultural code
· Poetics, mythology, and semiotics of everyday and public behaviour: genres, styles, plots, poetics, masks and personae;
· Author’s life story as a cultural phenomenon; means and goals of the mythologisation of author’s life story;
· Devices for constructing the biography of a fictional character; the role of characters’ biographical details in fictional texts;
· Biography and hagiography: semiotics and poetics;
· Autobiography and confession: semiotics and poetics;
· The issue of reliability in (auto)biographical texts;
· (Auto)biographical texts as operative elements in the semiosphere;
· “Biographism” in the study of culture;
· Biography of Juri Lotman: topical questions in recent research.
We are also interested in discussing the methodological aspects of large projects concerning biographies and life writing, such as: “Russian Literary Authors 1800—1917: Biographical Encyclopedia (Bol’shaya Rossiiskaya Entsiklopediya); “Right To a Name” (“Меmоrial” centre); “Estonian Life Stories and Oral History” and “Estonian Life Stories As Carriers of Cultural Memory” (Estonian Literary Museum); “China Biographical Database Project” and “African American National Biography Project” (Harvard University), as well as the experience of authors of scholarly biographies, editors of different biographical chronologies, etc.
Submissions: the conference welcomes submissions in English and in Russian, the two working languages of the conference. The submissions should be sent via e-mail no later than 1 March 2014 and include:
- The title and a short abstract of the proposed presentation (up to 2000 characters with spaces)
- A short CV (name, surname, institutional affiliation, scholarly degree, description of scholarly interests — up to 2000 characters with spaces).
The organising committee will choose the presenters based on scholarly merit and thematic relevance for the conference. The results will be announced via e-mail no later than 15 March 2014.
The submissions in English should be sent to Piret Peiker:
The submissions in Russian should be sent to Tatjana Kuzovkina:
Speakers shall be allocated 30 minutes in total: 20 minutes to deliver the presentation and 10 minutes for discussion.
There is no conference fee. All conference events are free of charge for the presenters. The conference cannot offer any grants for travel or accommodation. However, please do not hesitate to turn to us, if you need advice making your arrangements. If you need a visa to travel to Estonia, please contact Mikhail Trunin:

Things to Remember: Materializing Memories in Art and Culture
5-6 June 2014, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Memory matters. It matters because memory brings the past into the present, and

The international conference Things to Remember: Materializing Memories in Art and Culture aims to explore a sustained focus on the materiality in and of memory. Such a focus helps to understand memory as a vibrant process, by analysing the active, creative and popular forms of remembering and forgetting. At the same time a materialist focus entails recognising certain forms of agency in material objects. As Bill Brown argues, a culture constitutes itself through its inanimate objects: ‘culture as it is objectified in material forms’. In this conference we want to draw cultural memory into the discourse of ‘new materialism’, inquiring how we remember with and through things. Here we avoid simple dualisms by foregrounding the intersections between the material and immaterial, natural and cultural, living or inert. Things make us remember (and forget), yet we also use things to bring about remembrance or forgetfulness. We therefore argue that memory is both mental and material.
The conference foregrounds the materiality of memory by investigating the vital relations between past and present, absence and presence, and remembrance and object. We thus interrogate the material transfers through which cultural memories of the past are expressed and circulated in art, media and popular culture. These transfers produce, re-present and transform mediated memories, literally giving shape to them in words, images, and objects. The conference pays as much attention to how we remember, create and re-create memories as to what we remember. Cultural memory is taken as both an active process and a dynamic practice. In such processes and practices of remembering, objects and things are endowed with meaning, agency and affect. As Bergson put it poetically, recollection is like ‘a fold in a material’. This raises the question how cultural memory plays a role in the social and cultural life of objects. Or, vice versa, what is the role that material things and objects play in ‘doing’ memory? That role will entail a study of the interaction between the materiality of memory, its affective nature, and its ideological frameworks. The conference will explore how memory unfolds time in its objectified materializations, both looking forwards and backwards, and realizing the affective dimensions of the here and now.
This conference will be centred on the following questions: What kind of memory-work do objects do? How does materiality mediate memory, for the individual and for society? What is the role of memory and forgetting in the social and cultural life of objects? Or vice versa, what is the role that material things and objects play in constructing memories? How do art objects and practices bring the past in the present? And how do they open up possibilities for a different future? How is the object endowed with meaning, affect and agency through the recollections attached to it? The conference aims at covering a wide range of artistic disciplines: fine arts, architecture, literature, music, cinema, theatre, digital media and fashion. We welcome proposals for papers as well as for three-paper panels.
Deadline for paper proposals: January 20, 2014. Please submit your proposal for a 20-minute paper; or for a panel session of three papers through the conference website:'s/things-to-remember/things-to-remember/
Contact information:

Looking at then now. International conference on oral history
8-10 June 2014, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)

The Oral History Divison of the Hebrew University will host an international conference on the issue of subjectivity in the creation of oral histories in all areas of study, as well as how this issue is understood and presented in scholarly work.
The conference will address these methodological issues in relation to the following areas of study: immigration and transnationalism, trauma studies, holocaust studies, human rights, conflict studies, minorities studies, gender studies, culture & identity.
The conference will be organized into panel sessions planned around a specific theme of investigation. Participants are encouraged to submit an individual paper or organize a panel.
Proposals are to be sent, no later than October 30th, 2013, to:

War Memories: Commemoration, Re-enactment, Writings of War in the English-speaking World
17-19 June 2014, Université Européenne de Bretagne – Rennes 2 (France)

The wars of the past have not left the same imprint on collective memory. Wars of conquest or liberation have marked the history of the British Empire and its colonies in different ways. American foreign policy seems to be motivated by what is sometimes viewed as an imperialist vision which led the army into the quagmire of Vietnam and more recently into controversial involvement in the Gulf. Whether they end in victory or defeat, or are a source of patriotic pride or collective shame, wars are commemorated in museum exhibitions or through literature and the cinema in which the threads of ideological discourse and the expression of subjective experience are intertwined. From the upheavals of the Napoleonic Wars and the American Civil War to the Boer Wars in South Africa, from the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland to the carnage and devastation of the two World Wars, some conflicts seem to attract “duties of memory” while others are simply forgotten. Military interventions in the Falklands, in Bosnia, and more recently in the Gulf, in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in Libya have created a new kind of memory, the narrative constructed by television images. In this period preceding the 100th anniversary of the Great War, when the links between memory and history are central to historiographical preoccupations, this international conference will encompass the representations of wars in the English-speaking world during the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
The mediatisation, performance, interpretation and rewriting of facts and events during and after wars will be central to our reflexions in various workshops. We welcome diachronic, synchronic or comparative studies along with those questioning the process of memory and memorisation. Patriotic fervour, federating or demobilising discourses, resistance, conscientious objection, injury and trauma, propaganda and counter-propaganda contribute to the shaping of individual and collective memory and further the reconsideration of long-held truths in the light of new discoveries and with the benefit of hindsight. There will be a dedicated Great War workshop.
Please send your abstract of 250 words and a 200 word biography directly to the conference website by 15th June 2013.

Balkans in Contemporary Travel Writing
19-21 June 2014, University of Montenegro

In her seminal study Imagining Balkans Maria Todorova observed travellers and travel writers have always been the first to make communicative links between various political, cultural, and geographic units and parts of the world, and therefore, they have also been the first interpreters of the travelled world. As much as travel writing tells about that world, the heritage of travel writers mirrors the conceptual world that initiated their travels, providing fertile ground to investigate the question of why the “other” appears exactly as it does through the traveler’s perspective.
As we have witnessed abrupt changes in the region in the last two decades, our conference will be devoted to the analysis of travel writing created during this period. We invite scholars to join us and contribute with their innovative papers to our efforts, so that together we may explore this challenging theme. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2014.
Your proposals, containing an abstract no longer than 300 words, with up to 8 key words and a short CV, should be sent to Marija Krivokapić Knežević:

What is a letter? An interdisciplinary approach
2-4 July 2014, Oxford (UK)

Over recent years the number of studies, conferences, international networks, and editorial projects which focus on letters, letter writers, and letter-writing cultures has grown remarkably. As a result, our understanding of the letter as a form of text, as a material object, and as a generator or reflector of social norms and cultural practices has become more nuanced. However, at the same time our concept of the letter has become less well defined, as theoretical aspects of the epistolary form have not received comparable attention. The topical, interdisciplinary discussion of what exactly a ‘letter’ is and what terms and methods one should adopt to deal with it, is still very much in its infancy.
There are many questions to answer: how – if at all – can we conceptualize letters as a genre, and what is to be gained from that? What characteristics of letter-writing are relevant across disciplines? What are the key frames of reference in the process: single letter, correspondence, or ‘epistolarium’ (Liz Stanley)? In what ways do variable transmission processes – including the collection, archiving, editing, or exhibition of letters – influence our perception of the epistolary? Finally, and this is perhaps the most important question, how does one approach a type of text which is used both as a pragmatic and as a literary form and which is rooted in historical reality while at the same time retaining its potential to deploy fictional qualities?
In order to address these and related questions, the symposium aims to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines and countries, and from universities and public institutions, for an exchange of knowledge which will lay the foundations for an inclusive and interdisciplinary model of and methodology for analysing letters. The symposium will primarily consider and compare theories and practices of letter-writing from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, but proposals relating to earlier periods are also welcome. We invite papers (20–25 minutes in length) which address aspects of letters and letter-writing against this background. Analyses of theoretical aspects of letters as a type of text are welcome on their own or in the context of a case study or studies.
We would expressly like to invite scholars from the following disciplines to submit a proposal: linguistics, philosophy, psychology, medicine, sociology, theology, media studies, law, history of art, history (including, in particular, postal history), editorial studies, cultural studies, and modern languages (including English). Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
* Genre typology
* Types of letters, themes of letters
* Relationships between pragmatic and literary qualities in and of letters
* The effect of editing/archiving/exhibiting letters (practices and processes) on defining the genre (and vice versa)
* Aspects of transmission
* Letters in competition with other media
English and German are the working languages of the symposium, and an interpreter will be present to summarize papers and assist with the discussion. The papers will be published in a conference volume. We hope that the international and interdisciplinary focus of the symposium will lead to further collaborative projects.
If you are interested in giving a paper, please send an abstract of no more than 350 words plus a short paragraph with bio-bibliographical information to:
Dr Marie Isabel Matthews-Schlinzig (Oxford),
Caroline Socha (Heidelberg),
The deadline for submitting abstracts is 3 March 2014.

Celebrity Encounters: Transatlantic Fame in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America
4-5 July 2014, Univerity of Portsmouth (UK)

Building on recent scholarship that has demonstrated that the discourses, practices and conditions associated with twentieth- and twenty-first-century celebrity culture were already in place in America and Europe by the end of the eighteenth century, this conference explores the transatlantic dimensions of nineteenth-century constructions of fame and fandom. It considers the ways transatlantic celebrity affected relationships between, and the identities of, celebrities and fans, and facilitated a questioning of geographically located notions of identity, race, gender and class. In the context of new forms of communication, transport and media that irrevocably altered celebrity cultural exchanges across the Atlantic, this conference focuses on the nature of celebrity encounters and the complexities of relationships between famous Americans and their British fans; British lions and their American devotees; and British and American celebrities. Possible topics include:
• Anglo-American celebrity encounters in nineteenth-century British and/or American literature or culture
• Transatlantic fandom as a subject in nineteenth-century British and/or American literature or culture
• American celebrities/fans in nineteenth-century Britain
• British celebrities/fans in nineteenth-century America
• The transatlantic reception of British and/or American writers and artists
• Gender, race, nationality and class in transatlantic celebrity exchanges
Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words, together with a brief biographical note listing your affiliation, to: The deadline for submission is 14th of February 2014.

Victorian and Edwardian Lives and Letters
10-11 July 2014, University of Hertfordshire and Knebworth House (UK)

Submissions are invited for this two-day conference to be held at the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield and at Knebworth House, the country home of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton (1803-73). The conference will focus broadly on the topic of life-writing in its different manifestations and the challenges posed by Victorian and Edwardian figures from across the literary, theatrical, political and social scenes. How, for example, were Victorian lives recorded by Victorian contemporaries? How did a Victorian subject go about writing an autobiography or memoir? What was/is the relationship between life-writing and creative writing? Given that the fields of biography and autobiography regularly undergo re-evaluation as notions of identity, selfhood and `suitable’ subjects shift, how do those working on nineteenth century topics in the twenty-first century approach them. Where is the field going?
Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers for a range of topics. These might include, but are not limited to:
- Challenges in recovering both well-known and forgotten subjects
- Celebrity and infamy
- Working with letters and diaries
- Creative writing’s use of Victorian and Edwardian lives
- Shifting reputations
- The legacies of earlier biographers (e.g. Froude, Strachey)
- New developments in the field
- Teaching life-writing
Please email 300 word abstracts or enquiries to the conference organisers, Rowland Hughes, Andrew Maunder and Janice Norwood at: The closing date for abstracts is 31 January 2014.

Saints & Hagiography
7-10 July 2014, Leeds (UK)

The Hagiography Society seeks either individual papers or full session proposals for sponsored sessions at the International Medieval Congress 2014 in Leeds (7-10 July). Although all proposals relating to saints and hagiography will be considered, those which respond to the congress theme of ‘Empire’ or to the suggested sessions below are particularly welcomed.
* Shifting Practices, Priorities, and Perceptions: The Changing Nature of Medieval Saints’ Cults - Whether considered from the standpoint of a single cult centre, or a saint with a following spread over a wide geographic area, the practices, motivations, and audiences of saints’ cults often changed over time. Papers in this panel might explore this issue through a variety of lenses: using available documentation of cult practice and promotion, iconographic changes seen in the representation of saints over time, alterations made to shrines and buildings, developments in the hagiographical tradition as witnessed by surviving copies of vitae, or other approaches. Interdisciplinary work is welcomed.
* Local Heroes: New Approaches to the Study of Minor Saints and their Cults - This session is intended to provide an arena for scholars currently working on lesser-known saints and cults for which only fleeting textual, visual and/or material evidence remains. Proposed papers should engage with some of the following questions: What avenues of investigation are open to researchers in this area? How have new methodologies changed the field? How significant were these cults to the communities who venerated them? What factors prevented these saints from achieving wider prominence? And what insights do such micro-studies add to our broader understanding of medieval devotional practices?
Individual papers should be 20 minutes in length while full session proposals must consist of three papers.
Please e-mail abstract proposals of between 250-300 words per paper to by Friday 13 September.

Victorian and Edwardian Lives and Letters
10-11 July 2014, University of Hertfordshire and Knebworth House

Submissions are invited for this two-day conference to be held at the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield and at Knebworth House, the country home of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton (1803-73). The conference will focus broadly on the topic of life-writing in its different manifestations and the challenges posed by Victorian and Edwardian figures from across the literary, theatrical, political and social scenes. How, for example, were Victorian lives recorded by Victorian contemporaries? How did a Victorian subject go about writing an autobiography or memoir? What was/is the relationship between life-writing and creative writing? Given that the fields of biography and autobiography regularly undergo re-evaluation as notions of identity, selfhood and `suitable' subjects shift, how do those working on nineteenth century topics in the twenty-first century approach them. Where is the field going?
Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers for a range of topics. These might include, but are not limited to:
* Challenges in recovering both well-known and forgotten subjects
* Celebrity and infamy
* Working with letters and diaries
* Creative writing's use of Victorian and Edwardian lives
* Shifting reputations
* The legacies of earlier biographers (e.g. Froude, Strachey)
* New developments in the field
* Teaching life-writing
The conference includes a tour of Knebworth and conference dinner at the house. Residential accommodation is at the University of Hertfordshire.
Please email 300 word abstracts or enquiries to the conference organisers, Rowland Hughes, Andrew Maunder and Janice Norwood at The closing date for abstracts is 7 February 2014.

Picturing the Family: Media, Narrative, Memory
10-11 July 2014, Birkbeck, University of London (UK)

This conference will set out to explore how concepts of family have been acted out, reinvented, or deconstructed, through various media including the visual arts, literature, and museum exhibitions, across the centuries.
The family picture will be considered both in its figurative and artefactual forms. We will look at the significance of the family picture in literary works or films, and we will consider alternative concepts of family and kinship as pictured in paintings, photographs, graphic novels, and other visual media. We are interested in media transfers, the question of what happens to family pictures when they are included in literary or visual narratives whether these are autobiographical or fictional. We aim to explore how different media reproduce or replace the family picture, or evoke it once it becomes lost (e.g. through ekphrasis). We are also interested in the types of narratives that are created in museums, social media and family albums, through displays of family pictures and portraits.
Key questions to be examined will include: what are the changing conventions of the family picture and how do they reflect the changing conceptions of the institution of the family? Who is the addressee of the family portrait? How do family narratives and family pictures inform each other? What is the role of family pictures in individual and cultural memory? Is the family a privileged site of memorial transmission (Aleida Assmann, Marianne Hirsch)? Has it become the central trope through which national history is framed? What role do family pictures play within other cultural forms, e.g. in literature or film? Can other cultural forms offer alternatives to the kinds of family portrait we associate with photography?
We call for papers in English from across the disciplines and periods, as we wish to consider how the notion of ‘family’ translates across time, through various ways of picturing it.
Please send an abstract of no more than 400 words to the organising committee at the following email address: by 30 November 2013. We hope to publish a selection of the papers in due course.

Power and Democracy: The Many Voices of Oral History
9-12 July 2014, University of Barcelona (Spain)

The International Oral History Association will hold its next meeting in Spain at the University of Barcelona.
The force of democracy as well as the resistance it has met have prompted oral history projects around the world. Interviews with advocates of change have supplemented and supplanted archives of discredited regimes. Oral histories have documented social and political upheavals, reform movements and reactions. Oral histories have revealed the effects of power relationships that exist between citizens and their governments, workers and employers, students and teachers, and the layers within institutions, communities, and families. As a democratic tool, oral history records and preserves the memories, perceptions, and voices of individuals and groups at all levels and in all endeavors, but that raises questions about what to do with these interviews and how to share them with the people and communities they reflect.
Power and democracy will be the theme of the IOHA’s meeting in Barcelona, with the sub-themes:
* Archives, Oral Sources, and Remembrance
* Power in Human Relations
* Democracy as a Political Tool
* Oral Sources and Cultural Heritage
* New Ways to Share Our Dialogue with the Public
Those interested in participating should send a single-page proposal including an outline of your paper and the following details:
1. Name (with your family name in CAPITAL letters).
2. Affiliation
3. Postal address
4. Email address
5. Phone and fax numbers
6. Relevant sub-theme
7. Whether an individual paper, a thematic panel, a workshop proposal, or a performance.
8. Suggestions for Special Interest Groups
Deadline for proposals: September 15, 2013.
Send English-language proposals to:Don Ritchie:

3rd Global Conference: Celebrity and Fandom
21-23 July 2014, Mansfield College, Oxford (UK)

In the recent Channel 4 documentary on One Direction fans (‘Directioners’), one of the featured young girls compared the 1D fan community to a sect. Later on, reports on 1D’s fan’s desperate attempts at establishing more intimate contact with the members of the group followed, the most terrifying one being on a fan who threatened to kill her beloved dog, if one of the boys did not follow her on Twitter. While disturbing in itself, also for the fans as proved by their angry response, the documentary and the subsequent critical response accurately showed the positive and negative aspects of the existing and practiced modes of relating to celebrity figures and the necessity of further studies on the phenomenon of consuming celebrity. What boxes must a celebrity ‘tick’ to appeal to people, and what kinds of people are in need of a famous figure to glorify? Is it culture/time specific? Is it legitimate to say that each century gets the fans and celebrities it deserves?
While this year we wish to explore the subject of fan culture and celebrity consumption, the conference is ultimately devoted to the phenomenon of celebrity in general. Inviting abstract propositions on fandom and celebrity culture representing all corners of the world and all historical periods, it also wishes to investigate Asian cultures more thoroughly. For instance, why is it stereotypically said of Asian fans that they are the loudest and most devoted and yet least dangerous to their subjects/objects of adoration? Why does Japan have ‘star factories’? Why was it so important for Minami Minegishi, a J-pop band member, to publically apologise for her ‘no-boyfriend’-rule transgression? What are the Chinese ‘star tribe’ and what is their value to the celebrity figure the follow?
This call for presentations, proposals and performances addresses a serious, interdisciplinary and multicultural analysis of the phenomenon of celebrity. We encourage both an in-depth criticism of the state of contemporary culture as well as a legitimate recognition of celebrities’ and fans’ cultural value. Scholars, artists, writers, media representatives, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and medical and law specialists are invited to send papers, reports, research studies, work-in-progress, works of art, workshops and pre-formed panels are invited.
300 word proposals should be submitted by Friday 14th February 2014.
Information and submission guidelines:

1st Global Conference Testimony: Memory, Trauma, Truth, Engagement
29-31 July 2014, Mansfield College, Oxford (UK)

Inter-Disciplinary Net hosts this conference, which aims to examine the evolving genres and emerging contexts of testimonial production. Broadly understood, testimony is an autobiographical narrative that presents evidence of first-person accounts of human rights abuses, violence and war, and life under conditions of social oppression. It is a genre that continues to thrive and evolve in the twenty-first century and one that encompasses a diversity of expression or representation from oral to written as well as nonfictional to fictional.
Testimonial related research includes topics such as: human rights and storytelling; trauma and memory; ethics, witnessing, and reconciliation; affect theory and empathy studies; critical pedagogy. Scholars continue to engage questions that address issues of generic hybridity and metamorphosis; evolving uses, reception, and production of testimony; ethical and aesthetic contexts of testimony; and legal and juridical frameworks of testimony.
Since testimonial production implies a spectrum of disciplines, art forms, geographical and historical contexts as well as multi-lingual realities,it is through an interdisciplinary framework that allows for an ethical exploration of the impact and contributions of testimony and its legacies.
It is through interdisciplinarity that a just and fair examination can be made of the impact and contributions of testimonial production within the cultures of redress and transnational justice processes for both the producers of testimony and their audience.
This call for proposals asks for consideration of testimony in terms of its trajectories into questions dealing with memory, trauma, truth, and/or witness engagement. Dealine for abstracts is: 16 May 2014.
Information about the conference and guidelines for submission of abstracts:

Autobiography. International Conference
2-4 October 2014, Södertörn University, Stockholm (Sweden)

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore a broad variety of ideas within the field of autobiography. We invite papers and presentations on the following or related topics:
Spiritual Autobiographies
Self-representational Writing
Online Writing of the Self
Fictional Autobiographies
Fake Autobiographies
Autobiography in Cartoons
Autobiography in Dance and Film
Postcolonial Autobiography
Celebrity Autobiographies
Autobiography and Gender
Indigenous Autobiography
Autobiographies of 'ordinary people'
Therapeutic autobiography
Autobiography in Translation
Please send your abstract and a short bio by March 1, 2014. Applications may be reviewed after the deadline until the quota for presentations is filled. We welcome papers conforming to 20 minutes oral presentation time, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A. The abstract should be max 300 words and the bio max 50 words. Notification of acceptance April 1, 2014. Registration and payment of conference fee of 2750 SEK by April 15, 2014. Delegates may attend the conference without submitting any research, but registration is still necessary. Final papers by August 1, 2014. Selected papers will be published in a peer-reviewed anthology in the Södertörn University English Studies Series.
Web site:

Portraying the Prince in the Renaissance: The Humanist Depiction of Rulers in Historiographical and Biographical Texts
4-6 November, Humboldt Universität Berlin (Germany)

The collaborative research center “Transformations of Antiquity” at the Humboldt University in Berlin is now soliciting abstracts for an international conference devoted to the portrayal of rulers in historiographical and biographical texts written by Renaissance humanists in the period from 1350-1550.
In the larger context of interdisciplinary research on the transformative reception of antiquity across the ages and the development of a nuanced theory of how such inter-epochal cultural change actually takes place, an équipe within the research center, led by Prof. Johannes Helmrath, has focused for the past nine years on the topic of Renaissance humanist historiography and its relationship to ancient sources, methods, practices, and models. Having hosted conferences and issued publications that approach this topic by way of language and media, literary practice and social context, and the transformation of ancient narrative strategies, the research group is now turning its attention to the portrayal of individuals in humanist texts.
An emphasis on contingency and human agency (as opposed, for example, to divine providence) has long been considered a hallmark of Renaissance historiography. The conference begins from this premise but also aims to review it critically. Rulers, who occupy a central place in both the organization and the content of so many historical works, will provide the focus. By investigating the manifold ways these individuals and their historical impact are portrayed, contributors will offer crucial insight into this essential aspect of humanist literary production and the broader humanist conception of history. The texts and authors discussed at the conference should represent the broadest possible chronological and geographical spectrum (within the boundaries set) in order to facilitate the identification and description of temporal continuity and change on the one hand, national and regional similarities and differences on the other.
But what exactly is an historical text? As difficult as this question can be for modern scholars, it is even thornier when applied to the Renaissance. As opposed to ancient authors like Nepos and Plutarch who distinguished clearly between biography and historiography, humanists were less scrupulous in observing the distinction between life-writing and the narration of historical events. On the contrary, the line between these activities is often blurred in humanist writings of an historical nature, which tend to be characterized by a hybridization of quite disparate text types and a successful integration of various discourses. Thus countless ostensible works of history, such as Paolo Emilio’s De rebus gestis Francorum (1539), are structured biographically along a line of founding figures and kings. On the other hand, writings whose titles suggest that they belong to the genre of biography, such as Lorenzo Valla’s Gesta Ferdinandi regis (1449), appear to modern eyes rather as examples of historiography. Yet again, a work like Thomas More’s Historia Richardi regis Angliae eius nominis tertii (1513) could legitimately be considered a biography. Thus when approaching the issue of how rulers were portrayed in works of history, it seems useful to undertake a broader investigation of historiographical and biographical texts.
A primary aim of the conference is therefore to encourage discussion of the distinguishing characteristics of and links between the various genres in which the historical portrayal of rulers features prominently. One thinks immediately of the nationally focused res gestae, decades, and historiae in which rulers play a decisive role, such as Antonio Bonfini’s Rerum Ungaricarum decades (1503), Elio Antonio de Nebrija’s Rerum a Ferdinando et Elisabe Hispaniarum regibus gestarum decades (1509), and Polydore Vergil’s Anglica historia (1514). The portrayal of individual rulers is also a key element in biographically arranged chronicles and annals, such as Hartmann Schedel’s Weltchronik (1493) and Johannes Aventinus’s Annales ducum Boiariae (1521). In addition, historical epics like Basinio Basini’s Hesperis (ca. 1450-57, on Sigismondo Malatesta), Giovanni Mario Filelfo’s Amyris (1471-76, on Mehmed II), even Girolamo Vida’s Christiad (1535) should be considered, as could the edition of the medieval hexametrical work Ligurinus, curated by Conrad Celtis and other members of the sodalitas Augustana (1507). Nor ought biographical collections to be neglected; while Platina’s Vitae Pontificum (1479) clearly embodies a history of the papacy, the political history of early-fifteenth-century Europe is inscribed in the vignettes of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini’s De viris illustribus (ca. 1449). Discrete biographies, such as Tito Livio Frulovisi’s Vita Henrici V (1436), round out the list of traditionally recognized historical genres. Yet a case can be made for others as well, such as satires, funerary anthologies, panegyric orations and poetry, funeral orations, hagiographies, and commentaries, all of which have a strong biographical component.
Beyond the question of genre, the theme of the conference could also be approached by considering the various uses and transformations of ancient biographical models in humanist works. What influence was exercised by Suetonius and his thematic, as opposed to chronological, and thus highly selective mode of biography? To what extent were humanist texts characterize