CFP: Autobiography, Ethics, and Relations — Wilfrid Laurier Press (Deadline: July 15, 2021)

The first two decades of the twenty-first century have seen a growing interest in personal stories across
media and markets, from photo-journalism, to letters, social media posts, memoirs, documentaries, and
performance or installation art. True accounts of experience have been used to protest sexual violence,
institutional racism, and neo-colonial practices of occupation; personal stories have been situated as
transformative acts of resiliency, healing, survivance, and resurgence; and autobiographical acts have
been mobilized to call for humanitarian response to crises of forced displacement and migration. While
these interventions are not unprecedented, they highlight two key aspects of auto/biographical acts and
their use in contemporary cultures across the globe — namely, the pivotal roles of relationality and

Contending with auto/biographical ethics means interrogating the relationships and power dynamics
that shape individuals’ and communities’ experiences, alongside the relationships embedded in the
representation, mediation, and reception of these experiences. In other words, it means accounting for
the intrinsic relations between ethics and politics, exploring what truths autobiographical texts speak to
while also asking whose lives are represented, how, by whom, for whom, and for whose profit.

Autobiography, Ethics, and Relations — a peer-reviewed edited collection under advance contract with
Wilfrid Laurier University Press — will interrogate the ethical challenges, risks, responsibilities, and
potentialities embedded in local and global practices of auto/biography. To explore these issues, I invite
contributions attuned to questions of agency, responsibility, and accountability to true stories and to
the individuals and communities whose lives have been represented in auto/biographical works across
mediums, periods, and locations. The collection as a whole will not offer firm conclusions, nor will it
readily solve ethical challenges or dilemmas. Instead, I encourage contributions that speak to wider
issues and relationalities (rather than offer an analysis of a single work), offering provocations while
carefully situating them in specific cultural, historical and material contexts.

The collection will be organized around three interlinked categories —production, circulation, and
reception — and potential discussion topics may address (but are not limited to) one or more of the

• The ethics of telling, discovering, recording, or collaborating to represent lived experience
• The power dynamics and ethical concerns embedded in collaborative production of life stories
• Responsible practices of working with auto/biographical subjects, documents, and communities
• Producing life stories in/for community settings (e.g. community-based workshops or projects)
• Reproducing auto/biographical accounts in translation, restoration, or revised editions
• Considerations of harm, exploitation, access, implication, consent, benefit, and agency of
auto/biographical subjects and their communities

• The ethics of archiving, curating, anthologizing, and promoting true stories
• The circulation and use of life stories for/ as social justice activism
• Life stories vis-à-vis human-rights discourse
• Approaches to life stories in history, ethnography, sociology, archeology, etc.

• The use of life stories in discourses of state/ international recognition and redress
• The ethics of remembrance, memorializing lives, or commemorating trauma
• Ethical approaches to reading life writing (privately and publicly)
• Auto/biographical ethics in discourses of testimony and witnessing
• Audiences’ responsibilities to true stories and the communities whose experiences are shared

I welcome contributions from emerging or established scholars, artists, writers, curators, or activists, as
well as educators, librarians, editors, publishers, and journalists, or archivists. Please send a short
abstract (~300 words) and a brief biography (100 words) to Dr. Orly Lael Netzer (
by July 15, 2021.

Those invited to submit full chapters will be notified by August 15, 2021. Please note the manuscript will
undergo a full peer-review process. Complete chapter drafts should be approximately 7,500-9,000
words including endnotes and bibliography and will be due Jan. 30th, 2022. Citations will follow t
Chicago 17th Manual of Style (Author/Date style).

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out via email to

I look forward to reading your submissions,

Categories: Non ACCUTE CFPs

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