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  • Editors' Note
  • Miriam Fuchs and Craig Howes

Since one of the major activities currently at the Center for Biographical Research is the planning of the Sixth Biennial Conference of the International Auto/Biography Association, which will be taking place from June 23 to 26, 2008, here in Honolulu, we'll devote this editors' note to telling you about it. Here is the call for papers:

Life Writing and Translations

Translation is central to all forms of representation; the theme for this conference is Life Writing and Translations, in the widest sense of the term. We welcome papers dealing with the following kinds of translation, and others as well:

Linguistic—Accounts of language acquisition, and their relation to senses of identity, of relations with others, of community, of separateness. Immigrant life writing narratives. Indigenous peoples and life writing. Poly-lingual texts. Polyphonic and heteroglossic texts. And of course, the translation of life writing texts from one language to another.

Generic—Life writing texts often move from one literary, artistic, disciplinary, technological, or rhetorical form to another. Papers can deal with representing peoples' lives in any medium—film, graphic text, writing, image, performance. They can examine the adaptation of one representational form to another—from book to film, from film to musical, from orature to literature, from page to stage to page, from popular confession to auto-ethnography, from case study to gossip. Or they can look at multi-generic works—online life writing incorporating visual, aural, and textual dimensions, or performance works combining presence and representation in several media.

Cultural—Cultural translation involves the vexed but necessary efforts to communicate central ideas, histories, concerns, desires, needs, politics, identities from one cultural position or community to another. Translation is the act that takes place in Mary Louise Pratt's contact zone, or on Greg Dening's beach, or at a Truth and Reconciliation Committee hearing. Translation is often the negotiating of issues of gender, race, class, and disability (transnational, transgender, transcultural). Translation, as movement between states or spaces—transits, transitions—also shapes travel narratives. Translation, as a mediation between past and present, takes into account historical specificity. And translation participates in the political and cultural dynamics between nations, and national groups. [End Page iii]

Because our primary concern will be striking up and sustaining conversations between conference participants, papers should be limited to fifteen minutes in length, to insure time in all sessions for questions and full discussion. Papers on a single topic and submitted together as a panel are welcome. (Panels and sessions will have three presenters.) Given the theme of the conference, panels and individual papers may be conducted or delivered in the language of the participant's choice—various arrangements will be made well before the conference to allow other conference attendees to participate. All participants should also inform the organizers about media requirements for presentations—DVD, live internet, visual projection, audio, and so on.

Abstracts for papers should be @300 words long. There should be an abstract for each paper in a panel presentation. The deadline for abstracts is November 1, 2007. Though e-mail is preferred, abstracts can be submitted by mail or fax to the following numbers and addresses:

IABA Conference Call for Papers
c/o The Center for Biographical Research
University of Hawai'i at Mänoa
1800 East-West Road #325
Honolulu, Hawai'i 96822 USA
telephone/fax number: 808-956-3774

We would be happy to answer questions. Contact the CBR at the same numbers and addresses.



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