Family History and Life-Writing

FYI. The following was posted on Twitter. It should be an interesting read when published if you can get beyond the obligatory $2 words.

We are seeking contributions to a Special Issue of Life Writing on Family History and Life-Writing. Abstracts are due 30th November 2021. Full articles due by the end of May 2022.

Family historians are a large and often neglected group of historical researchers and life writers. They have a strongly articulated sense of their practice, and a well-developed set of methodologies and research apparatuses. In recent years, family histories have emerged in a variety of creative forms that include autobiography, biography and memoir. As a community situated outside the academy, however, family historians are often marginalised by the mainstream, dismissed for their naiveté and amateurism and ridiculed for seeking emotional connections with the past lives of their forebears. Those practising within the academy have often defined the research practice and interests of family historians as unscientific, uncritical, emotional and of little value to the academy or anyone else bar their own family group. In a Special Issue of Life Writing, we encourage authors to engage with these assumptions and explore the diverse ways in which scholars, writers and others are engaging with family history. We ask them to consider how family history is enabling growing numbers of people to think historically and to produce distinctive forms of historical understanding that challenge the long-standing academic monopoly of historical knowledge.

In this Issue we aim to bring together a range of scholars at different career stages to hear about their research and its impact. These scholars include those who have worked on family histories or with family historians and those in conversation with family historians. We encourage papers that consider recent developments in different styles of Family History and Life Writing. Our overarching aim is to broaden the range of voices we hear on Family History and Life Writing and to reveal the many benefits that can emerge from collaboration between practitioners within and outside of the academy.

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