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Life writing

During the 21st century, the research field of life writing has evolved to become part of the significant national and international interest in biographical texts. Man as a cultural being is described within most genres, but it is particularly within biographical writing that we can study how the conditions and norms of what constitutes a human life are developed and challenged during each period.

Life writing is a central phenomenon within all subjects at the department. Within religious studies and theology, this can involve how people understand and interpret their lives based on a certain religious tradition. Within the history of ideas it may relate to how philosophical, history of science and ideological contexts contribute towards individuals’ thinking, while within literary history and theatre studies it may deal with how we represent our own experiences or those of others within different genres and with different intentions. Various types of life writing – everything from witness testimonies and interviews to journals and letters – are also used as source material for research within the individual fields.

The research carried out has a broad cultural focus, spanning many different uses of biographical material during various historical periods. As an interdisciplinary field of research, life writing encompasses a multitude of theoretical perspectives, such as hermeneutics, cultural theory, gender and queer theory, and post-colonialism. This profile is integrated into the department’s teaching, such as the Life Writing course at second-cycle level. There are a number of individual research projects within the field, dealing with subjects such as letters, biographies and autobiographies written by private individuals and public figures.

Page Manager: Elin Widfeldt|Last update: 2/12/2013

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