Call for papers – Biography and Public History: Constructing Historical Narratives through Life-Writing

20 June 2018
University of Nottingham, Department of Music

Keynote: Professor Frances Spalding, CBE, FRSL (University of Cambridge)
Deadline: 9 February 2018

Call for Papers

From Plutarch’s Parallel Lives to Gordon Brown’s recent My Life, Our Times, life-writing has long dealt not only with individuals, but also with the times in which they lived. The discipline traverses historical, cultural, social, political and literary realms. As such, life-writing is a unique medium enabling authors to construct complex historical narratives through the eyes of a particular person. Memoirs, diaries, and other forms of life-writing can also fill gaps in the documentary record, offering historical information that may not be found elsewhere. This interdisciplinary conference aims to explore the myriad ways in which the medium of life-writing has and is being used as a means of constructing and understanding history. As a key characteristic of life-writing is its ability to cross disciplinary boundaries, proposals from a range of disciplines are welcomed.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • the relationship between the individual and society or broader events;
  • constructing historical narratives through non-traditional media, eg. portraiture, exhibitions, multimedia, auto/biographical drama;
  • the lives of institutions, places and objects;
  • life-writing as a form of public history;
  • life-writing and the scholarship of creative individuals (eg. Composers, writers, artists) and their works;
  • life-writing and science;
  • methodological issues and benefits in using life-writing as a historical source.

Submitting a proposal
Proposals are welcomed for individual 20-minute presentations, panels of 3-4 papers (1.5-2 hours), and proposals for one-hour roundtables of 3-5 participants. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Joanne Cormac (University of Nottingham): joanne.cormac@nottingham.ac.uk by 9 February 2018.

Further information will be made available on the conference website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/conference/fac-arts/humanities/music/biography-and-public-history/biography-public-history.aspx

The conference is funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

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