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Teaching Life Writing Texts

Editor(s): Miriam Fuchs, Craig Howes

Pages: ix & 400 pp.
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9780873528207 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873528191 (hardcover)

"Howes and Fuchs have spanned a remarkable breadth in terms of where their writers come from, the sorts of schools they teach in, and the life writing issues on which they focus. The result is a veritable gold mine for both teaching and research."
Susanna Egan, author, Mirror Talk: Genres of Crisis in Contemporary Autobiography

"This book is an invaluable pedagogical and theoretical resource. The extensive bibliography . . . is truly impressive."

The past thirty years have witnessed a rapid growth in the number and variety of courses and programs that study life writing from literary, philosophical, psychological, and cultural perspectives. The field has evolved from the traditional approach that biographies and autobiographies were always about prominent people--historically significant persons, the nobility, celebrities, writers--to the conception of life writing as a genre of interrogation and revelation. The texts now studied include memoirs, testimonios, diaries, oral histories, genealogies, and group biographies and extend to resources in the visual and plastic arts, in films and videos, and on the Internet. Today the tensions between canonical and emergent life writing texts, between the famous and the formerly unrepresented, are making the study of biography and autobiography a far more nuanced and multifarious activity.

This volume in the MLA series Options for Teaching builds on and complements earlier work on pedagogical issues in life writing studies. Over forty contributors from a broad range of educational institutions describe courses for every level of postsecondary instruction. Some writers draw heavily on literary and cultural theory; others share their assignments and weekly syllabi. Many essays grapple with texts that represent disability, illness, abuse, and depression; ethnic, sexual and racial discrimination; crises and catastrophes; witnessing and testimonials; human rights violations; and genocide. The classes described are taught in humanities, cultural studies, social science, and language departments and are located in, among other countries, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany, Eritrea, and South Africa.

Timothy Dow Adams
Arturo Arias
Thomas J. D. Armbrecht
Kathleen Boardman
Alison Booth
Sarah Brophy
Trev Lynn Broughton
Suzanne L. Bunkers
David Caplan
Sandra Chait
Julia Clancy-Smith
Hilary Clark
Julie F. Codell
Judith Lütge Coullie
G. Thomas Couser
Martin A. Danahay
Kate Douglas
Richard Freadman
Leigh Gilmore
Gabriele Helms
Cynthia Huff
Georgia Johnston
Margaretta Jolly
David Houston Jones
Daniel Heath Justice
Joanne Karpinski
Jeraldine R. Kraver
John Mepham
Susannah B. Mintz
Joycelyn K. Moody
Ghirmai Negash
Gail Y. Okawa
Frances Freeman Paden
Iulia Patrut, Kristine Peleg
James W. Pipkin
Roger J. Porter
Katrina M. Powell
Sarah Sceats
Stanley Schab
Thomas R. Smith
Gary Totten
Gillian Whitlock
Kenneth Womack
Michael W. Young

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