The 2010 Graduate Conference in European History (GRACEH) seeks submissions that use biography to interrogate the concept of identity, as well as papers addressing methodological and epistemological issues regarding the genre. Case studies exemplifying the wider theoretical discussion will also be considered.
Given the ambiguity of many historians towards biography, this conference is organized around the assumption that there are important issues raised by the entanglements between biography and theoretical conceptualizations of identity. In current scholarship, an essentialist notion of identity has made way for a constructivist idea, which challenges the usefulness of the term “identity”, and makes way for other clusters of analytical concepts. But, can biographical research absorb these theoretical and methodological contributions? Can it interrogate and refine analytical categories such as race, class and gender, and reflect on older questions of agency and social structure? Can there be “biography” beyond “identity”? And if so, which are the epistemological and methodological issues, the challenges and traps of biography?
The working language of this conference will be English. Please send a 300 word abstract and a brief CV in a single Word document to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 1, 2010. Full papers will be pre-circulated, and we ask that all participants prepare a presentation of no more than 15 minutes to allow for discussion and questions. Final papers are due on April 15, 2010. Panels will be presided over by scholars who will comment on the papers as well as moderate discussion.
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