CFP: Personal Narrative and Political Discourse, Special Issue _Biography_ (8/15/09)
by Jessica C. Murphy
Call for Papers. Special Issue of _Biography_ 32.1 (Winter 2010).
“Personal Narrative and Political Discourse.” Guest Editor: Sidonie Smith.
The 2008 U.S. presidential election was remarkable in part for the role played by the published life narrative and its refractions through old and new media. A race that started out as a referendum on war and became focused on the economy was largely about neither. As Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager, announced in early September: “This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.” Central to that composite view were the identity narratives through which candidates figured themselves as desirable and electable. In this historic election, voters, journalists, pundits, campaign operatives, and candidates engaged in an extended national debate about the uses and abuses, mediations and meanings of autobiographical performances and published life narratives.
For a special issue on “Personal Narrative and Political Discourse,” we seek essays exploring this conjunction of autobiographical discourse and political discourse, life writing and national/transnational political cultures. They can mine this conjunction in the US context or in other global contexts. They can focus on contemporary political cultures or
earlier historical periods. They can explore remediations of life stories through multiple routes of circulation, multiple audiences, and multiple formats. They can read this conjunction through heterogeneous theoretical lenses. The following topics are meant to be suggestive, not prescriptive:
questions of authenticity and ghost writing • un/representative lives in modernity or postmodernity • formidable figures • “faux” lives and “earnest” lives, “right” lives and “left” lives • autobiographical discourse as/and political strategy • new genres, old genres of life story as political action • stories and activisms • digital politics, digital subjects, digital narrations • re-mediating lives and contested politics • framing and re-framing life stories in national political campaigns or
transnational activism • cultures of “talk” and the politics of life narration • the “time” of the nation and the shape of life narration •personal story, national trauma • sectional politics, intersectional lives • racialized politics, ethnic identities, political fables • gendered acts, stories, and discourse • autobiographical acts as collaborative politics •
autobiographical discourses of constituent, citizen, netizen, countryman/woman, global citizen • life narration and the politics of positionality: political leader, candidate, national leader, statesman/woman, world leader • inheritances, legacies, reconstructions, and revivals: narration before and after • the politics of “truth” and autobiographical acts • life writing as change agent of/in politics
TO SUBMIT: Manuscripts should be double spaced, and ideally between 3,000 and 8,000 words. A double-blind submission policy will be followed; the author’s name should not appear anywhere on the manuscript, but an accompanying cover letter should contain the author’s name and address. Consultation on manuscript ideas is welcome. Ideas and submissions may be sent by email to biograph_at_hawaii.edu, or in paper form to
Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, Center for Biographical
Research, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, 1800 East-West Road #325,
Honolulu, HI 96822 USA.
Deadline for receipt of completed papers: 15 August 2009.