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

21 January 2019
Professor Tarje Nissen-Meyer to deliver Annual London Lecture at Lincoln's Inn

Wolfson College is privileged to have Professor Tarje Nissen-Meyer deliver the Annual London Lecture.

18 January 2019
Jon Stallworthy Poetry Prize 2019 Winner Announced

Wolfson College is honoured to announce that the winner of this year's competition was Andrew Wynn Owen for Lines of Decline.

17 January 2019
The Academics at Risk campaign

Last term the College raised almost £25,000 to place an academic at risk and their family at Wolfson.

Our upcoming events

Lectures and Seminars
22 - 22
Jan Jan
Weinrebe Lecture 1, Notes from the Silence: writing the lives of women composers
Tuesday 22 January - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Due to the tireless work of musicologists such as Anna Beer, a rich legacy of music by women has been, and continues to be, unearthed. The tide is, however, beginning to turn and we are hearing more female composers. But how can we, indeed how should we, write these composers' lives? In the first Weinrebe Lecture of 2019, Anna will share her insights into gender, creativity and life-writing.

Networking
23 - 23
Jan Jan
Digital Research Cluster Lunch
Wednesday 23 January - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Do you use, or are you interested in using, digital technologies for research in any discipline? The lunch is an opportunity to meet and discuss your work with technology specialists and other academics, and to explore further opportunities in the College and Oxford. Contact David Robey (david.robey@wolfson.ox.ac.uk) for further information.

Lectures and Seminars
23 - 23
Jan Jan
AWRC Lunch Table and Talk - Dr Elise Morero
Wednesday 23 January - 1:15pm to 2:00pm

Lunch Table in Hall from 12:30, followed by a talk in the Florey Room at 13:15 delivered by Dr Elise Morero (Postdoc researcher at the Khalili Research Centre) on The contribution of ancient technology analysis to the history and history of art: the study of relief-carving on medieval Islamic rock crystal vessels (9-12th c.). Coffee and cakes will be served.

Lunch Table open to Cluster members.

Talk open to ALL.