Special issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies

“What’s Next? The Futures of Auto/Biography Studies”

The International Auto/Biography Association Student and New Scholar Network (IABA SNS) is excited to announce that we are collaborating with a/b: Auto/Biography Studies ( on a special issue of the journal, “What’s Next? The Futures of Auto/Biography Studies.”

a/b: Auto/Biography Studies was founded at the 1985 “International Symposium on Autobiography and Autobiography Studies” convened at Louisiana State University by James Olney. The work begun at this conference shaped, and continues to shape, the dynamics of scholarship on narrated lives. The thirtieth anniversary of a/b and the conference from which it emerged is an apropos time to reflect upon the possible futures of the field. This special issue, “What’s Next? The Futures of Auto/Biography Studies,” does this work by interweaving short essays from established researchers and emerging scholars who consider an array of possible futures of auto/biography studies, including: changing and globally expansive perspectives, the diversity of critical and generic inquiry, disciplinary intersections, multiple and collaborative methodologies.

The SNS Directive is guest editing contributions to this special issue from emerging scholars of life narrative who wish to add their voices to this conversation. We invite graduate students and new scholars to submit 350-word critical reflections that address new directions of life narrative theory and criticism. The reflections should be tightly focused on a particular idea, keyword, or theoretical concept of the author’s choosing and should explore possibilities, concerns, unexplored (or underexplored) terrain, or methodological and critical approaches in the field of auto/biography studies. We encourage contributors to consider the ways other disciplines overlap and intersect with Auto/Biography studies and welcome insight from a variety of academic fields, including the social and life sciences.

Topics of particular interest to the guest editors include, but are not limited to:

  • political praxis;
  • the lives of others, especially in consideration of relationality and how we construct and produce notions of the other in life narrative, (particularly in biographical forms);
  • (dis)placement—notions of geographical space and place in contexts of settlement, land, sustainability;
  • movement and temporalities—moving through time/ historical contexts;
  • queer temporalities;
  • interdisciplinarity and its relationship with notions of intersections and relationality;
  • media and mediation;
  • methodologies;
  • the body;
  • activism;
  • power;
  • images/ the visual/ graphic in life narrative; and
  • representations of the self through art practice and performance.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. We welcome contributors’ interpretations the theme of “What’s Next? The Futures of Auto/Biography Studies” according to their own observations and inclinations, and as informed by their own research.

Submission Instructions

We encourage submissions that are clear, concise, and mindful of the limitations and possibilities of such a short piece of writing. We do not expect that these critical reflections will do the comprehensive work that longer scholarly essays do; rather, we seek responses that consider one point critically and reflectively. Although we are unable to accept thesis or dissertation abstracts, we are particularly interested in submissions emerging from the research of current graduate students.

In order to ensure a blind peer-review please include your name, address, email, the title of your essay, and your affiliation in a separate cover letter, removing any identifying information from the essay (including citations that refer to you as the author in the first person).

Complete submissions of 350-word essays (not including notes and bibliographies), your cover letter, and a short biographical note (no more than 100 words), should be sent as attachments to by Sunday April 10, 2016.

Submissions should follow the format of the Modern Language Association Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.). Please consult the a/b: Auto/Biography Studies website for additional style guidelines:

The special issue will be 32.2 (2017).

About the Editors

Emma Maguire is a PhD Candidate in English Literature at Flinders University of South Australia where she is completing her doctoral thesis, titled Automedial Girlhoods: Reading Girls’ Autobiographical Practice in Digital Contexts. Her project investigates the autobiographical strategies employed by girls in online texts such as blogs, vlogs, and websites in order to examine how gender, youth, and mediation converge to produce girlhood subjectivities. She is also working on a research project about sex, sexualities, and life narrative. You can find out more about her work at

Maria R. Faini is a PhD candidate in Ethnic Studies and Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is completing her dissertation titled The Art of Occupation: Moral Injury, Artisanal Destruction, and a Politics of Non-Arrival. Publications include essays in Locating Life Stories: Beyond East-West Binaries in (Auto)Biographical Studies and Ada: A Journal of Gender, Technology, and New Media. She has also written for Nation of Change and The Feminist Wire, and is co-executive editor of nineteen sixty nine: an ethnic studies journal.

Orly Lael Netzer is a PhD student at the University of Alberta’s Department of English and Film Studies, where she focuses on exploring formations of cross-cultural relationships in Canadian literatures at the turn of the 21st century. She is a research affiliate at the Canadian Literature Centre:, and co-edited “Auto/Biography in Transit,” a special issue of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly (38:1,Winter 2015).

Emma, Maria, and Orly are the co-founders of IABA’s Life Writing SNS Network. More information on the IABA SNS is available on our website: IABA SNS is a chapter of the International Auto/Biography Association. More information on the global IABA may be found at:

a/b: Auto/Biography Studies is a member of the Routledge Literature Portfolio of journals and the journal of The Autobiography Society (