IABA EUROPE CONFERENCE 2019 KNOWING THE SELF: AUTO/BIOGRAPHICAL NARRATIVES AND THE HISTORY OF KNOWLEDGE
June 19–21, 2019 UNIVERSIDAD COMPLUTENSE DE MADRID (SPAIN)
PARTICIPANTS AND ATTENDEES: EARLY BIRD 200€; AFTER MAY, 15TH: 250€
STUDENTS: EARLY BIRD 120€; AFTER MAY, 15TH: 150€
Deadline for Late Bird registration is June 10th. Conference website:
(Be sure to check ‘English’ in the ‘IDIOMA’ tab on the upper-right corner of the site)
The sixth IABA Europe conference proposes to examine the interrelation between life writing and the history of knowledge. Insofar as all life writing is concerned with human self-understanding, it is necessarily entangled with diverse fields that produce knowledge about humans, whether the narration aims at rendering a seemingly given knowledge of the self or at acquiring it, at questioning it or at staging it. Any “knowledge of the self” is inscribed in a broader history—or histories—of knowledge. Yet, to which bodies of knowledge and which theoretical languages do auto/biographical narratives refer in order to gain or communicate a specific “knowledge” of the self? Which historically and culturally diverse fields of knowledge have contributed or are contributing to shaping ideas of “the self,” and how do these fields affect the modes of production, the forms and the rhetoric of life narratives? And vice versa: Which role do auto/biographical narratives play for knowledge production and the evolution of disciplines?
While certain fields of the humanities have been widely recognized for their importance for auto/biographical self-fashioning and self-exploration, such as historical and psychoanalytic hermeneutics, the conference encourages an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationship between auto/biographical writing and a wide range of fields of knowledge and of disciplines. At the same time, not least in view of the rapidly growing number of “expert autobiographies,” it aims at stimulating research on the role of life writing in the development and shaping of disciplines. On a further level, the conference aims at sparking methodological reflections on how to go about examining interrelations between life writing and the sciences or the humanities. Are connections to be described as a matter of influence, or can we identify epistemic currents that equally encompass autobiographical writing and the generation of knowledge, scientific, theoretical, or other? With which notion of knowledge do we and with which notion do the works studied operate? Especially with regard to autobiographies, this involves also the question: to what extent we are to distinguish between “subjective” autobiographical and “objective” theoretical writing—if at all. And how is the relation between autobiographical and theoretical writing negotiated by the narratives themselves? Do they confirm, subvert, blur or contest established distinctions between scientific facts, evidence-based knowledge and theoretical writing on the one hand, and individual self-observation and personal writing on the other? What is their “poetics of knowledge”?