What is Life-Writing?

Life-writing involves, and goes beyond, biography. It encompasses everything from the complete life to the day-in-the-life, from the fictional to the factional.

It embraces the lives of objects and institutions as well as the lives of individuals, families and groups.

Life-writing includes autobiography, memoirs, letters, diaries, journals (written and documentary), anthropological data, oral testimony, and eye-witness accounts. It is not only a literary or historical specialism, but is relevant across the arts and sciences, and can involve philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, ethnographers and anthropologists.

Wolfson College provides a natural home for OCLW. The college prides itself on an interdiscplinary approach to research, whilst drawing on equally strong research traditions in humanities and science.

Recent areas of interest in life-writing studies include the relation of biography to scientific discovery. Life-writing is also an integral part of studies relating to the Holocaust, genocide, testimony and confession, and gender and apartheid. The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing also has an interest in 'the lives of objects' and the relation of those objects to human lives. This subject, and the methodological questions that it raises, was the focus of OCLW's inaugural conference in 2013.

In the future, the Centre will turn its attentions to a series of events (outside of the conference) dedicated to exploring the lives of objects; the relationship between (auto)biography and portraiture; and a number of writing workshops.

Watch this space for details of talks, workshops and conferences in these areas.

Now tell us your views how would you define life-writing? Which recent trends in the discipline particularly fascinate you? What would you like to see taking place in a Life-Writing Centre? In the near future, you will be able to participate in discussions regarding life-writing on our blog.

News
Events

The latest from Wolfson College

Jon Stallworthy Black & White Photograph
4 September 2019
Jon Stallworthy Poetry Prize 2020

Wolfson College together with the English Faculty announce Jon Stallworthy Poetry Prize 2020.

4 September 2019
Philomen Probert's book on the Latin Accent published

Congratulations to Philomen Probert on the publishing of her book "Latin Grammarians on the Latin Accent: The Transformation of Greek Grammatical...

26 July 2019
Bryan Magee - Obituary

Bryan Magee, philosopher, writer, broadcaster, politician, died at St Luke's Hospital, Headington, on 26 July 2019 aged eighty-nine. 

Our upcoming events

Lectures and Seminars
20 - 20
Sep Sep
Beyond the Picture: Calligraphy and the Arts of the Book in Sultanate India
Friday 20 September - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

A lecture by Eloïse Brac de la Perrière. Numerous fields of investigation await the attention of specialists of Sultanate India. In particular, the study of illustrated manuscripts offers many perspectives: the iconography, the text, and the book itself, including its materials and their assemblage. The calligraphy from this period has scarcely been studied, despite its marked peculiarities. Calligraphy also provides a bridge between the artistic, intellectual and spiritual fields.

Conference
01 - 03
Oct Oct
Futures Thinking Conference
Tuesday 1 October - 8:30am to Thursday 3 October - 1:00pm

Futures Thinking is a TORCH research network that uses Humanities methodologies to think through future-oriented technologies and concerns. This conference seeks to explore the future of reading and narrative in relation to how questions of inequality, bias in programming and developing technologies are changing the way that human beings create and interact with narrative and the self.

Networking
04 - 04
Oct Oct
RF/JRF Lunch Table
Friday 4 October - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

RF/JRF informal lunch table in Hall (12:30-1:30pm). Wine and beer are served. Partners and children are welcome.