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Writing the Body, Writing the Self: Autofiction and Autotheory

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Organizer: Jamie Clegg

Co-Organizer: Charity Scribner

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Organizers: Nirvana Tanoukhi, Jamie Clegg, Charity Scribner

This seminar investigates the relationship between autofiction and autotheory.  It asks how each mode of writing has been shaped and employed by different subjects across gender and race.
Autofiction spans from autobiography to the novel, crossing into the subgenres of the memoir and the roman à clef.  Its production establishes an interplay between the documentary and the aesthetic; its critique analyzes the dialectic between authority, authorship, and identity.   Autotheory, meanwhile, has been articulated as an integration of philosophy with autobiography– a synthesis that encompasses the embodied, the personal, and the subjective.
Together we propose to compare autofiction and autotheory in order to consider their distinct and overlapping legacies; and to open new lines of inquiry into both sexual politics and the antinomies of race.  Although the focus is Western and modern, we welcome other perspectives.  Participants are invited to present papers on a range of relevant topics, including:

major works of modern and contemporary autofiction (by Serge Doubrovsky, Annie Ernaux, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Teju Cole), as well as their literary precursors (by JW von Goethe, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Vladmir Nabokov)
philosophy and autotheory (Plato, JJ Rousseau, Friedrich Nietzsche)
psychoanalysis and autotheory (Sigmund Freud, Frantz Fanon, Judith Butler)
feminism and autotheory (Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, bell hooks, Gloria Anzaldúa, Adriana Cavarero, Lauren Fournier) 
the function of citation (in works by Roland Barthes, Maggie Nelson) 
related tendencies in visual art, performance, and cinema (Aktionismus, Adrian Piper, Bill T. Jones, Fred Moten)

Please send proposals of ~300 words to Charity Scribner ( and Jamie Clegg (

Note: All proposals must be submitted through the ACLA paper portal by September 30, 2023, by the author of the abstract.

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