The editors of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies are pleased to announce that, beginning in 2014, we will become part of the Routledge Literature Portfolio of journals.
We are honored to be affiliated with such a distinguished publisher and feel certain that this partnership will enhance the journal’s position as a leading voice in the lively, global dialogue theorizing life narratives. This publishing partnership will further a/b’s expansion of the critical discourse on narrative analysis while providing enhanced access to scholarship in the field.
As a member of the Routledge Literature Portfolio, the journal will continue to draw from a diverse community of global scholars, publishing scholarship on historic and contemporary auto/biographical narratives. This partnership will support a/b as we uphold its almost thirty-year legacy of pushing ongoing conversations in the field in new directions and charting an innovative path through interdisciplinary and multimodal narrative analysis. For further information, including subscription news and submission guidelines, please visit our Routledge website at www.tandfonline.com/raut.
In recognition of our move to Routledge, we are delighted to introduce a new, recurring section of the journal, entitled “The Process.” While we remain committed to publishing academic writing that engages auto/biographical narratives, we also appreciate the value of essays that describe, explore, and analyze methods of collecting and constructing life narratives. Our interest in examining narrative from the viewpoint of text-production grows from our ongoing discussions with scholars in the field and our careful review of essays submitted for publication.
Scholars intermittently share with us essays that explore the praxis of primary text and scholarly analysis. Some of these essays come from other disciples, such those submitted by social scientists who trace the complex methodologies they employ to gather narratives, and others from practitioners, such as writers, visual artists, or filmmakers, who explore their craft theoretically and self-reflexively.
We believe these essays uniquely contribute to the field through their insight into artistic practice and their investigation of the intersections of self, life, text, and mediation at the level of text-construction. Therefore, we intend to situate scholarly essays alongside these explorations of narrative construction and/or collection. From here forward, the journal will include selected essays on the methodology engaged in the gathering of or creation of life narratives. [End Page 177] Future issues of the journal will include essays in this category from contributors such as Don Coutts and Jay Parini. We welcome inquiries from scholars and practitioners who are interested in contributing to this new segment.
In this issue, we feature Paola Bilbrough’s “Poetic Re-presentation as Social Responsibility in a Collaborative Documentary,” as our first contribution to “The Process.” Bilbrough’s account of negotiating the ethics of filming No One Eats Alone, a documentary about twelve Sudanese-Australian women, carefully describes ethical burdens of representation distributed across class, race, and national lines. It suggests that, “in auto/biographical documentary, a non-literal, poetic approach offers a possible way forward in ethically framing life stories involving shared privacies and/or sensitive cultural material.”
This essay investigates not just the craft of documentary filmmaking, but also the internal struggle experienced by Bilbrough, her subjects, and her sponsors as they attempt to create an ethical depiction of the Sudanese-Australian community. It also demonstrates the sense of responsibility that Bilbrough experiences when she realizes that one Sudanese-Australian subject could, for some viewers, be reduced to all Sudanese-Australian women. This autobiographical investigation of the biographer exposes the ways in which the artist must take into account the many forces—cultural and personal, internal and external—that will form and inform the final product.
Bilbrough’s contribution to “The Process” may be read productively alongside the two additional essays on documentary filmmaking published in this issue: Janet Marles’s “Auto/Biographical Ethics: The Case of The Shoebox” and Leah Anderst’s “‘I’ve spent a lot of time looking at these images’: The ‘Viewing “I”’ in Contemporary Autobiographical Documentary.” Marles’s essay continues to address the ethical imperatives documentary filmmakers face when representing or re-presenting the lives of their subjects. In her essay...