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 viewshow 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

19 November 2018
Romulus Launching Party

This Friday, Wolfson's literary magazine Romulus will launch their new call for writers.

19 November 2018
Academics at Risk Giving Day

We are delighted to announce that we have raised over half of our target for our Cara Campaign.

Wolfson College Trees
16 November 2018
Walter Sawyer admitted to the honorary degree of Master of Arts

Supernumerary Fellow, Walter Sawyer receives honorary Master of Arts from the University. 

Our upcoming events

General Meetings
21 - 21
Nov Nov
General Meeting
Wednesday 21 November - 5:30pm to 6:30pm

General Meeting occurs at least twice in each term and is an opportunity for all College and Common Room members to discuss any College business.

Parties and Dinners
21 - 21
Nov Nov
Academics at Risk Giving Day
Wednesday 21 November - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

We hope you can join us for an informal evening of drinks, canapés and speeches from Tim Hitchens, Stephen Wordsworth from CARA and some special guests. The event will take place at 19.00 in the Wolfson Café.

Art exhibition
22 - 22
Nov Nov
Snow Land Art Exhibition
Thursday 22 November - 11:30am to 6:30pm

The exhibition will display incredible artistic works of young Tibetan artists from Snow Land Art School in Tibet. The event will be started with a brief introduction by Ngawa Choepjor, who is the co-founder of Snow Land Art School in Tibet.