Category Archives: Uncategorized


The latest issue of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 1, 2021, can be accessed on Project Muse here:

Remembering Lauren Berlant

More Flailing in Public

Anna Poletti

National Fantasies about the Self

Rebecca Wanzo

An excerpt from Riva Lehrer’s Golem Girl: A Memoir

International Year in Review

From Individual to Collective Memories: The Year in Aruba

Rose Mary Allen and Jeroen Heuvel

Burning Shame, Decolonizing (His)tory, and Writing Illness
and Disability: The Year in Australia

Kylie Cardell

Viennese Modernism and No End: The Year in Austria

Wilhelm Hemecker and David Österle

COVID-19 Emergency Diaries: The Year in Brazil

Sergio da Silva Barcellos

Lives Interrupted: The Year in Canada

Alana Bell

“Diaries in the Lockdown City”: The Year in China

Chen Shen

To Belong—or Not to Belong: The Year in Denmark

Marianne Høyen

“Is the World Still There?”: Estonian Lockdown Diaries:
The Year in Estonia

Leena Kurvet-Käosaar and Maarja Hollo

Stories of Secrets, Wounds, and Healing: The Year in Finland

Kirsi Tuohela

“Ways of Worldmaking”: The Year in France

Joanny Moulin

Complicit Filmmakers, Self-Made Women, and the Weltgeist
on Horseback: The Year in Germany

Tobias Heinrich

Parallel Pathways: The Year in Hungary

Ágnes Major and Zoltán Z. Varga

Eyes Wide Open with Paper in Hand: The Year in Italy

Ilaria Serra

Prison Narratives: The Year in South Korea

Heui-Yung Park

Illness Writing and Revolution, Converging Narratives:
The Year in Lebanon

Sleiman El Hajj

“A Place on the Banknote”: The Year in Malawi

Nick Mdika Tembo

Periodismo, crimen, misoginia: El año en México

Gerardo Necoechea Gracia

A Profusion of Perspectives: The Year in Netherlands

Hans Renders and David Veltman

Pandemic Diaries: The Year in Poland

Paweł Rodak

Fighting Against Traditions of Silence: The Year in Portugal

Cláudia Maria Ferreira Faria

Documenting Lives: The Year in Romania

Ioana Luca

Narratives of a Pandemic: The Year in Spain

Ana Belén Martínez García

Imagining Gender+ Justice amid the Pandemic:
The Year in Turkey

Hülya Adak

Necrography: The Year in the United Kingdom

Tom Overton

Pandemic Reading: The Year in the United States

Leigh Gilmore

Annual Bibliography of Works about Life Writing, 2020

Compiled by Zoë E. Sprott


Edited Collections and Special Issues

Articles and Essays


Brown Bag Biography, Fall 2021

Another season of Brown Bags begins today! As the series continues over Zoom, all are welcome to attend.

The series is entering its thiry-fourth year—well over 750 sessions have been held so far.






September 16: “Footstepping, Perhapsing, and Bio-bits”
Li Shan Chan, PhD student in English at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and 2021 Biography Prize winner
Cosponsored by Hamilton Library, the International Cultural Studies Program, and the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Asian Studies
Zoom Meeting ID: 959 4518 4532
Password: 330127

September 23: “Spirit Beyond the Law: Radical Abolition from Olaudah Equiano to Colin Kaepernick”
Hannah Manshel, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Cosponsored by Hamilton Library, the International Cultural Studies Program, and the Departments of Ethnic Studies, History, and Political Science
Zoom Meeting ID: 986 0181 8734
Password: 380847

September 30: “Oral History of Okinawan Kibei/Nisei/Issei Women”
Karen C. Oshiro, MEd, Assistive Technology Practitioner, Certified Aging in Place Specialist
Cosponsored by Hamilton Library, the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, the School of Communications, the Center for Okinawan Studies, the Center for Oral History, and the Departments of Ethnic Studies, History, Political Science, Anthropology, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Zoom Meeting ID: 959 4604 6252
Password: 212581

October 7: “Remembering Our Intimacies: Moʻolelo, Aloha ʻĀina, and Ea”
Dr. Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Cosponsored by Hamilton Library, the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, the Hui ʻĀina Pilipili: Native Hawaiian Initiative, the School of Communications, the Center for Oral History, and the Departments of Ethnic Studies, History, Political Science, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Zoom Meeting ID: 996 1558 1124
Password: 996097

October 14: “A Hybrid Memoir: A Reading and Discussion”
Dr. Rajiv Mohabir, Assistant Professor of Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College
Cosponsored by Hamilton Library, the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, the Hindi-Urdu Language Program, the International Cultural Studies Program, the Center for South Asian Studies, and the Departments of Ethnic Studies, Political Science, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Zoom Meeting ID: 971 5659 7266
Password: 385232

October 21: “In Time, A Writer”
Stephanie Sang, PhD student in English and 2021 Biography Prize winner
Cosponsored by Hamilton Library, the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, and the Departments of Ethnic Studies, Political Science, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Zoom Meeting ID: 915 3862 5616
Password: 052859

October 28: “An Ethics of Settler Decolonization in Hawaiʻi”
Logan Narikawa, PhD candidate American Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Cosponsored by Hamilton Library, the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, the School of Communications, the Center for Oral History, and the Departments of Ethnic Studies, History, Anthropology, and Political Science
Zoom Meeting ID: 940 1700 6818
Password: 687351

November 4: “Learning What Makes My Heart Smile!”
Dr. Virginia S. Hinshaw, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Cosponsored by Hamilton Library, the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, the School of Communications, and the Department of Political Science
Zoom Meeting ID: 940 4661 6602
Password: 815666

November 18: “Becoming Foreign: Love and Writing Across the Cultural Divide”
Heather Diamond, PhD in American Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Cosponsored by Hamilton Library, the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, and the Department of Asian Studies
Zoom Meeting ID: 984 1734 7287
Password: 769161

“We Are Maunakea: Aloha ʻĀina Narratives of Protest, Protection, and Place”: a special issue of biography

“We Are Maunakea: Aloha ʻĀina Narratives of Protest, Protection, and Place”

A special issue of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, now available online at

PC: Antonio Agosto, Visionize Media

HONOLULU, HI, June 10, 2021 – Aloha pumehana. Guest editors Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada and Noʻu Revilla and the editorial team of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly are proud to present a special issue on the lifewriting strategies of the kiaʻi (protectors) who gathered at Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu in the summer of 2019 to defend Maunakea against desecration by the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). 

This special issue features first-hand accounts, academic reflections, creative works, photography, and interviews with kiaʻi from the 2019 front lines and members of the media team.

“We Are Maunakea: Aloha ʻĀina Narratives of Protest, Protection, and Place” is now available on Project Muse. The entire issue can be accessed at this link:

Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly explores the theoretical, generic, historical, cultural, and practical dimensions of life writing. For further information, consult the website of the Center for Biographical Research at

The Value of Hawaiʻi 3: Hulihia, the Turning published online

The Value of Hawaiʻi 3: Hulihia, the Turning, the latest volume in the Biography Monograph series from CBR and the University of Hawaiʻi Press, is now available free online! On ScholarSpace here: & The print version will be published in February 2021. More information here:

“Hulihia” refers to massive upheavals that change the landscape, overturn the normal, reverse the flow, and sweep away the prevailing or assumed. We live in such days. Pandemics. Threats to ʻāina. Political dysfunction, cultural appropriation, and disrespect. But also powerful surges toward sustainability, autonomy, and sovereignty.

The first two volumes of The Value of Hawaiʻi (Knowing the Past, Facing the Future and Ancestral Roots, Oceanic Visions) ignited public conversations, testimony, advocacy, and art for political and social change. These books argued for the value of connecting across our different expertise and experiences, to talk about who we are and where we are going.

In a world in crisis, what does Hawaiʻi’s experience tell us about how to build a society that sees opportunities in the turning and changing times? As islanders, we continue to grapple with experiences of racism, colonialism, environmental damage, and the costs of modernization, and bring to this our own striking creativity and histories for how to live peacefully and productively together. Steered by the four scholars who edited the previous volumes, The Value of Hawaiʻi 3: Hulihia, the Turning offers multigenerational visions of a Hawaiʻi not defined by the United States. Community leaders, cultural practitioners, artists, educators, and activists share exciting paths forward for the future of Hawaiʻi, on topics such as education, tourism and other economies, elder care, agriculture and food, energy and urban development, the environment, sports, arts and culture, technology, and community life.

These visions ask us to recognize what we truly value about our home, and offer a wealth of starting points for critical and productive conversations together in this time of profound and permanent change.

Biography 43.1: International Year in Review & Annual Bibliography

We are excited to announce the publication of Biography 43.1, which features the International Year in Review and the 2018-2019 Annual Bibliography.

Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 1, 2020

International Year in Review

The International Year in Review is a collection of short, site-specific essays on the year’s most influential publications in life writing. This year’s collection includes entries from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Curaçao, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain, the UAE, the UK, and the US.

“Life Writing When the World is Burning: The Year in Australia”

Kylie Cardell

“Books on Women, the Chancellor, and a Nobel Laureate: The Year in Austria”

Wilhelm Hemecker and David Österle

“Eakin and Santiago—Contributions to Life Writing Scholarship: The Year in Brazil”

Sergio da Silva Barcellos

“Fictions, Fantasies, and Thought Experiments: The Year in Canada”

Alana Bell

“Writing Cultural Celebrities: The Year in China”

Chen Shen

“El caminante Alfredo Molano: El año en Colombia”

Gabriel Jaime Murillo-Arango

“A Critical Biography of Former Prime Minister Miguel Pourier: The Year in Curaçao”

Rose Mary Allen and Jeroen Heuvel

“Changing Social Conditions—Changing Auto/Biography: The Year in Denmark”

Marianne Høyen

“Life Writing in Relational Modes: The Year in Estonia”

Leena Kurvet-Käosaar and Maarja Hollo

“Life Writing Genres on the Move: The Year in Finland”

Maarit Leskelä-Kärki

“’The Absolute Genre’: The Year in France”

Joanny Moulin

“De/Constructing Friedrich Hölderlin: The Year in Germany”

Tobias Heinrich

“Disappearing Worlds in Life Writing: The Year in Iceland”

Gunnthorunn Gudmundsdottir

“Bollywood Stars and Cancer Memoirs: The Year in India”

Pramod K. Nayar

“Scar Issues: The Year in Ireland”

Liam Harte

“Villains Between History and Literature: The Year in Italy”

Ilaria Serra

“Retelling the History of the Sengoku Period and the Era Name System: The Year in Japan”

Lu Chen

“Embodied Subjects of Victimization: The Year in Korea”

Heui-Yung Park

“Voices Against Disavowal, Obscurantism, and Exclusion: The Year in Lebanon”

Sleiman El Hajj

“Mujeres comunistas: El año en México”

Gerardo Necoechea Gracia

“The Land of Letter-Lovers: The Year in the Netherlands”

Monica Soeting

“Mass-Listening and the Diaspora: The Year in Puerto Rico”

Ricia Anne Chansky

“Pain, Resilience, and the Agency Memoir: The Year in South Africa”

Nick Mdika Tembo

“Giving Voice to Silenced Others: The Year in Spain”

Ana Belén Martínez García

“Biography of a Tolerant Nation: The Year in the United Arab Emirates”

Szidonia Haragos

“‘The strange and often alien world of the past’: The Year in the United Kingdom”

Tom Overton

“More Than Angry: The Year in the United States”

Leigh Gilmore

Annual Bibliography of Works about Life Writing, 2018–2019

Compiled by Janet J. Graham
The most comprehensive annotated survey of critical and theoretical work about life writing.

Release of Biography 42.4

We are pleased to announce that the most recent issue of Biography is now available on Project Muse. Biography 42.4, “Academic Freedom, Academic Lives,” is a cluster guest edited by Bill V. Mullen and Julie Rak and includes essays from Amanda Gailey, Malaka Shwaikh and Rebecca Ruth Gould, Elżbieta Klimek-Dominiak, and Theresa Smalec.

Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 4, 2019

Academic Freedom, Academic Lives

Bill V. Mullen and Julie Rak, guest editors

“Academic Freedom, Academic Lives: An Introduction”

Bill V. Mullen and Julie Rak                                               

Academic freedom is currently highly public and highly contested terrain. What academic freedom actually means has become an urgent question, as alt-right activists have turned the tenets of academic freedom to their own ends, whether on college and university campuses, or through the actions of right-wing governments as they move to suppress dissent. We want to reclaim the concept of academic freedom for the left and for academic activism, not through a debate about the concept as an abstraction, but in connection to what we see as the radical potential of academic lives. Thinking of academic lives as interpretation and critique is a way to disrupt the current alt-right control of public discourse about freedom of speech.

“Hypatia Redux: Three Stories of Silencing Academic Women”

Amanda Gailey                                                                     

Three stories of academic women reveal how political factions in different political settings—Church apologists in the Age of Enlightenment, Red Scare demagogues in the Cold War, and white nationalists in the Trump era—have used gender deviance as justification for marking boundaries around who gets to speak and teach. The murder of Hypatia of Alexandria attracted renewed attention in the eighteenth century when ideologues focused on her sexual morality to challenge or affirm the authority of the Church.  Luella Mundel, an art professor in West Virginia, was fired and publicly castigated as a vulgar communist sympathizer by conservative politicians during the second Red Scare. Courtney Lawton, a lecturer and PhD student in English at the University of Nebraska, was removed from the classroom and targeted by hate swarms and politicians after she participated in a campus protest in 2017. The cases explore how free speech and academic freedom work as embodied power rather than universally available rights. 

“The Palestine Exception to Academic Freedom: Intertwined Stories from the Frontlines of UK-Based Palestine Activism”

Malaka Shwaikh and Rebecca Ruth Gould                        

This autobiographical co-authored essay explores how hate speech wounds within the logic of the Palestine exception, whereby Israel-critical speech is subjected to censorship and silencing that does not affect other controversial speech. Three months after the UK government’s “adoption” of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism in 2016, we were subjected to a series of attacks in the media, in the public sphere, and in our workplaces in connection with our Palestine-related activism and criticisms of Israeli policies from years earlier. The crackdown on academic freedom that has overtaken UK universities since 2017 has been widely condemned, but rarely has this story been told from the vantage point of those who were targeted and censored. We document here in detail how the Palestine exception to free speech and academic freedom has damaged academic freedom within the UK and silenced Palestinian voices.

“Blank Pages for Nida Sajid”                   


“Gender Studies and Women’s Equality as Orwellian ‘Thoughtcrimes’?: The Threat of Self-Censorship and Polish Academic Autobiographical Resistance”

Elżbieta Klimek-Dominiak                                                  

Given the significant increase of recent threats by the far right against Polish gender studies scholars, this article focuses on the life narratives of Polish academics who have been intimidated because of their research. It argues that the danger of substituting self-censorship for free inquiry can be partially prevented by acts of academic autobiographical resistance. It has developed not in book-length memoirs, but in various life narratives, such as acts of self-presentation through extended biographical interviews, personal essays, open letters of protest, online accounts of witnessing, and the visual arts. Such an approach involving common autobiographical acts in multiple media best enacts both intellectual and affective forms of academic resistance to widespread misrepresentations of gender studies.

“Coercive Intimacy: Reflections on Public and Private Backlash Against #MeToo”

Theresa Smalec                                                                     

In this paper, I use the term “coercive intimacy” to analyze seemingly consensual exchanges and/or relationships that nonetheless originate in contexts where there is a fundamental power imbalance. In other words, someone with more power (economic, cultural, or sociopolitical) has the ability to give something desirable to someone with significantly less power. In reflecting on the overt and subtle abuses of power that underlie the exchange of “intimacy” for other kinds of commodities and means of advancement, I also examine the forms of backlash I faced for reviewing an art show that represented a woman’s experiences of sexual misconduct in academia.

Open-Forum Articles

“Self-Publication, Self-Promotion, and the Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave

Bryan Sinche                                                                         

This article sketches the early history of self-publication by African American authors and focuses on the life and work of the formerly enslaved William Grimes, who published two editions of his Life in the antebellum period. A savvy self-promoter, Grimes appropriated the ballad “Old Grimes is Dead” and marketed himself as “Old Grimes” to garner customers for his barbering and clothes cleaning business and sell copies of his book. These efforts helped Grimes realize a measure of success as a businessman and author, but the unintended consequences resulting from his self-promotion and marketing strategies highlight some of the challenges attending entrepreneurial self-publication by African American writers.

“Listening to the Grandmother Tongue: Writers on Other-Languaged Grandparents and Transcultural Identity”

Mary Besemeres                                                                   

This article considers Patricia Hampl’s A Romantic Education (1981) and John Hughes’s The Idea of Home (2004) as third-generation “language migrant” memoirs. The texts evoke a dual sense of strangeness and familiarity in childhood experiences with migrant grandparents who spoke another language. Although cultural transmission appears more tenuous here than in second-generation migrant narratives, these two memoirs suggest that the transcultural remains defining of third-generation migrant lives.


Biographical Misrepresentations of British Women Writers: A Hall of Mirrors and the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by Brenda Ayres

Reviewed by Meritxell Simon-Martin        


Medical Humanities in American Studies: Life Writing, Narrative Medicine, and the Power of Autobiography, by Mita Banerjee

Reviewed by Sam Allen Wright          


Undocumented Migrants in the United States: Life Narratives and Self-Representations, by Ina Batzke

Reviewed by Ina C. Seethaler         


Modernist Lives: Biography and Autobiography at Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press, by Claire Battershill

Reviewed by Miriam Fuchs           


Homes and Haunts: Touring Writers’ Shrines and Countries, by Alison Booth

Reviewed by Lee Jackson          


Modernity and Autobiography in Nineteenth-Century America: Literary Representations of Communication and Transportation Technologies, by James E. Dobson

Reviewed by Susan Shelangoskie           


Writers’ Biographies and Family Histories in 20th- and 21st-Century Literature, edited by Aude Haffen and Lucie Guiheneuf

Reviewed by Robert Kusek              


British Autobiography in the 20th and 21st Centuries, edited by Sarah Herbe and Gabriele Linke

Reviewed by Monica Soeting            


Narratology beyond the Human: Storytelling and Animal Life, by David Herman

Reviewed by Cynthia Huff                  


Discursive Intersexions: Daring Bodies between Myth, Medicine, and Memoir, by Michaela Koch

Reviewed by Megan Walker                                    


German Women’s Life Writing and the Holocaust: Complicity and Gender in the Second World War, by Elisabeth Krimmer

Reviewed by Christine Nugent                                 


Portraits from Life: Modernist Novelists and Autobiography, by Jerome Boyd Maunsell

Reviewed by Dennis Kersten                               


Women’s Narratives and the Postmemory of Displacement in Central and Eastern Europe, edited by Simona Mitroiu

Reviewed by Tomas Balkelis                                   


Witnessing Torture: Perspectives of Torture Survivors and Human Rights Workers, edited by Alexandra S. Moore and Elizabeth Swanson

Reviewed by Annie Pohlman                                         


Memories of Lincoln and the Splintering of American Political Thought, by Shawn J. Parry-Giles and David S. Kaufer 

Reviewed by Elizabeth Rodrigues                        


Food and Masculinity in Contemporary Autobiographies: Cast-Iron Man, by Nieves Pascual Soler

Reviewed by Alice L. McLean                         


Literature and the Rise of the Interview, by Rebecca Roach 

Reviewed by Jeffrey J. Williams                                 


The Biographical Turn: Lives in History, edited by Hans Renders, Binne de Haan, and Jonne Harmsma

Reviewed by Carol DeBoer-Langworthy               


The Power of the Steel-Tipped Pen: Reconstructing Native Hawaiian Intellectual History, by Noenoe K. Silva 

Reviewed by Robert Warrior

2020 Biography Prize

Congratulations to the co-winners of this year’s Biography Prize–Aiko Yamashiro and Amy Carlson!

Aiko was awarded the prize for her dissertation, “Nā Hua Ea & Building Decolonial Community (writing poetry with ‘āina and each other).” The judges found her work to provide the kind of community history that too often goes unattended. They were impressed by how, in doing so, she lovingly honors the work of poet/organizers who play such an important part in making Hawai’i a place of vitality where decolonial love can flourish.

Amy was awarded the prize for her dissertation, “Reading Mediated Identities: Auto/Biographical Agency in the Material Book, Museum Space, Social Media Platforms, and Archives.” The judges found her work to be beautifully written, persuasive, important, and contributory in how it brings together life writing and archival/library studies, and extremely well conceptualized. They found it an absolute pleasure to read and can imagine how useful it will be for students of Cultural Studies in Asia/Pacific.

We’re hiring!

Aloha Friends,

The Center for Biographical Research seeks a managing editor to join our team of editors, and we are hoping you can help spread the word about this exciting opportunity!

The job description for this full-time, permanent position can be found below. 

This position is designed for those who are invested in life writing and editing, and the position comes with travel opportunities and benefits.

The ad for the Editor position (#80851) is posted here.

**The closing date is 06/29/2018 at 11:59 PM.**

Please note that all applicants will have to apply on this site.


The CBR Team

Congratulations to Hawaiʻi History Day youth participants

Hoʻomaikaʻi to all the youth who participated in this year’s Hawai’i History Day State Fair. It is so important for young people to help us analyze, remember, and tell histories.

Some prizes were given by various organizations for projects that use biographical research, oral history, that focus on specific communities and themes. Here is our Craig Howes presenting the Center for Biographical Research prizes. For more information about this annual event, see:

M4BL Gathering

Dear Contributors to our Special Issue on the Movement for Black Lives,
Dear Community Leaders, Community Healers,
Dear Listeners and Writers and Fighters and Gardeners,
and Parents and Friends and Lovers,

Thank you for sharing so much of yourselves with each other and with us.
Thank you for your courage to face death and life.
Thank you for making time for fire and dancing and singing and breathing.
Thank you for saying: “Healing is going for the things that scare us,” (Rhaisa Williams).
Thank you for the resolve with which you meet this gutwrenching moment.
Thank you for taking care of your own bodies.
Thank you for your unapologetic aliveness, in all the colors.
Thank you for traveling far and connecting back.
Thank you for saying hard things to the people you love.
Thank you for the brilliance you embody.
Thank you for the welcoming circles you hold for each other.
Thank you for the boundaries you hold for each other.
Thank you for writing lives and saving lives, and reminding us of that connection.
Thank you for pushing us into intensity, into rigor, into a better world.

It was a blessing to share August 2017 with you.
We can’t wait for all the hard work to be out in print.
–The Center for Biographical Research

–photo of our special issue contributors enjoying the Black August People’s Feast put together by The Pōpolo Project