Life Writing Research Past and Present: Interview with Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson
On 16 November, 2017, the Austrian “Netzwerk Biographieforschung”,1 a network of life writing scholars and practitioners from various disciplines (history, literary studies, pedagogics, archival work, art, musicology) hosted its twelfth workshop at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. The organisers (Sarah Herbe, Julia Lajta-Novak and Melanie Unseld) were delighted to welcome two very special guests: Prof. Sidonie Smith and Prof. Julia Watson, whose vital contribution to autobiography theory need hardly be explained in the context of this journal. They had been invited on the occasion of the recent publication of Life Writing in the Long Run: A Smith and Watson Autobiography Studies Reader (Maize Books, 2016, available free online), which features a cross-section of their scholarship in the field over three decades. The following is an excerpt from the interview Sarah Herbe and Julia Lajta-Novak conducted with Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, which addressed the differences between autobiographical and biographical modes, recent theoretical interventions in the field of life-writing studies, and topical issues such as the impact of “post-truth” on auto/biography scholars and the implications of the #MeToo movement as a massive autobiographical project. This work was supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) under Grant V543-G23.
Copyright (c) 2019 Sarah Herbe, Julia Novak
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