Do you teach a course on auto/biography, biography or life writing?

Hello Life Writing Division Members,

I am working on a proposal for an Auto/biography Theory textbook, and I’d like to show that there’s a market for it…if you teach a life writing, biography or auto/biography course, can you reply to this post and indicate the course name and institution? Thank you!

Regards, Julie Rak, Past Chair of the Life Writing Division

8 thoughts on “Do you teach a course on auto/biography, biography or life writing?

  1. Hi, Julie:

    I teach life writing courses at Agnes Scott College. The two that focus exclusively on life writing are a studies in genre: life writing course and a queer literature course that focuses on memoir. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I also teach life writing in other courses, from first-year writing courses to surveys of American literature and ethnic American literature courses.

    All best,

  2. I teach Latina Life-story and I have also taught Creative Non-Fiction: Autobiography and upper level courses in Autobiography, Memoir and Testimonio.

  3. I’ve taught courses in autobiography & autofiction for years, primarily at Lehman College (CUNY). Undergrad courses in English were formally more general humanities (e.g., “Autobiography and Self-Portraiture” – painting, photography, film & primarily narrative, with some theory). More recently (as with current semester’s course, “Autobiography and Autofiction”) with a more specific focus on literature.
    I also teach such courses (e.g., “Autobiographie et autofiction”) in French, both undergrad & grad courses (The Graduate Center, CUNY). There is much theory available in French, but graduate students can be expected to read in English as well as read more theory than undergrads.
    A theory textbook? For undergrads, could be of use as textbook if both inexpensive and perhaps with useful excerpts of primary texts. Otherwise, of use to have on reserve in library (or online edition these days…).
    I don’t see date of your comment (6 months ago?), but I’m thinking of such matters, questioning how much theory to give to current undergrads, so thanks for sharing what you may produce (to regular email as I am so rarely in MLA forum).
    Thomas Spear

  4. A colleague and I alternate teaching a course called “Writing in the First Person.” The course deals with both fictional and autobiographical writing and the overlapping issues involved in the construction of the first person perspective.

  5. Hi Julie
    I teach (and created) a 200-level Autobiography course at Central Oregon Community College. It’s definitely an introduction, but I tend to focus on contemporary memoir. There are no viable anthologies right now, so your project would have a market.

  6. Dear Julie Rak, I am assuming that your project is a long-term one and that this inquiry is not obsolete in July 2015, about a year and a month after you originally posted. At any rate, I can tell you that I will be teaching a course in French in the fall that I’ve titled “Self, Narration, Reflection.” As Thomas C. Spear noted earlier this year, there is a lot of theoretical writing in French on autobiography and “autofiction.” (Thank you, Philippe Lejeune and Philippe Gaparini!) There is even a reasonably good, concise introductory text by Jean-Philippe Miraux, L’Autobiographie: Ecriture de soi et sincérité, 3rd ed. (2014). That said, a lot of the theoretical writing in French, even the introduction by Miraux, is somewhat beyond the language ability of most of the undergraduate French majors that I teach, so I feel obligated to use excerpts from Lejeune and Gasparini, accompanied by lots of ancillary material that I produce myself. I would welcome a good textbook on life writing, particularly for the face-to-face version of this class (taught in French) that I expect to create in a year or two and, possibly, another version of the course (a First-Year Seminar in English).

  7. Hi, this might be late. Anyhow I teach contemporary autobiography and memoir ( US, Canada, but really cross cultural) written by women. This proposed text would be very useful. Is it in progress then? Coming out anytime soon? If you could use email, I do not check discussion group updates very often (regrettably never seem t find the time for it) Thanks. eleonora

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