IABA Europe was founded in October 2009, with the aim of encouraging European scholars to participate in the International Auto/Biography Association (IABA) by organizing biennial conferences, publishing  the European Journal of Life Writing, an open access, peer reviewed  e-journal, and facilitating contacts via various means of communication. Following three successful conferences in Amsterdam (2009), Tallinn (2011) and Vienna (2013), the 2015  IABA Europe conference will be hosted by the Centre for Atlantic Studies, Madeira Island, and the European Journal of Life Writing.

The Centre for Atlantic Studies (CEHA) is located in Funchal,  the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira. CEHA is a government Institution (Autonomous Government of Madeira) founded in 1985. The research carried out by CEHA focuses on Atlantic history and on particular in the relationship between Madeira, Azores, Canary and Cape Verde Islands. More recently it has centered on life narratives through the Memoria project, which has been developed since 2013. The purpose of this project is to promote the importance of the individual in the course of history.  Through the gathering of personal documents (letters, postcards, journals, photos, notes etc.) and interviews we are creating an archive and digital database that is available to investigators and the general public.


The conference would like to advance contemporary discussion on narrating lives (telling life stories) by exploring dialogical dimensions in the creation and interpretation of life narrative and life writing, and the tensions to which these may give rise. 


We welcome proposals for papers which address the following themes, as well as other papers, films or any other creative medium considering life writing themes:  

  • The effects of power relations in society on which lives are written, by whom, and in what form.

  • The interplay between auto/biographical fact and fictive or rhetorical construction.

  • The role of archives in preserving, publishing and ‘canonising’ life stories.

  • The relationship between the writer/producer of ego documents and the researcher/reader, looking at the various ways in which a life is (or could be) re-created.

  • Internal dialogical structures in autobiographies, other kinds of ego documents  and life narratives, e.g. the range of different narrating voices and subject positions in auto/biographies.

  • Dialogue and (inter)mediality: dialogical dimensions involved in or provided by the specific medium/media used to document, narrate or explore a life, e.g. the impact of the possibilities of reader response in digital life writing and ‘social media’.

  • The impact of narrating other people's lives on our own lives.

  • Dialogue and the question of the ethics of life writing.

  • The impact of narrating lives on trade and communication in Atlantic history. 

  Conference languages: English and French.


Deadline for abstracts: 1 February 2015

Notification of acceptance: 2 March 2015