CFP: Private Lives, Intimate Readings: University of Tartu (Estonia): 11–12 june 2013

Call for Papers

Private Lives, Intimate Readings

Estonian Literary Museum,
Institute of Cultural Research and Fine Arts, University of Tartu
11–12 june 2013, Estonian Literary Museum

Keynote speakers: Prof. Jeremy Popkin and Dr. Paul Arthur

It can be argued that critical engagement with the private and the
intimate has always been a key characteristic of life writing studies.
Whether highlighting different contexts and intentions of different
modes and practices of life writing, where what is deeply personal is
also intensely political or focusing on the ‘structuring of the
private’, life writing studies have made a noteworthy contribution to
contemporary reconceptualizations of the private and the public
spheres. Based on recent development of theoretical perceptions of the
field of life writing, informed by, for example, research into one’s
own family history, archival and oral history work as well as
investigation of web-based life writing environments that have created
new sites of interrogation of the private and the public, of the
intimate and the official and formal, the conference aims at
facilitating a discussion of the methodologies of the intimate and the
ethics of the private. Questions to be considered include, but are not
limited to, the following range of issues:

- The founding assumptions that fuel inquiry of an intensely private
and intimate nature, and the transformation of the initial agenda in
the course of the inquiry;
- The relational dynamics of the process, the question of ties built
(and severed) as well as the contexts and media via which they are
facilitated, the interrelationship of private/individual memory and
cultural history;
- Ways of dealing with and interrelating different artifacts of
memory, the process of ‘sorting out’ (family) memory evidence, the
weight of material evidence, the “concrete reality of a document” (N.
K. Miller, C. Kraus);
  - The dynamics of the private and the public in archival and oral
history work and the process of compilation of and publicizing
archival resources;
- The dynamics of private and public documents, the process of
personalization of the public and the official and other acts of
translation (in figurative and literal sense) and interpretation
(concerning, e.g., a range of languages, cultural contexts, time
periods, political regimes, and ideologies);
- Ways of accounting for the absences of concrete realities, the
frequent gap and discord between place as a geographical entity today
and its memorial implications with regard to lost and destroyed
realities (M.Hirsch and L.Spitzer);
- The “intergenerational acts of transfer” (M. Hirsch) such inquiry
often involves on different levels, the second-generation's
responsibilities to its received memories (E. Hoffmann), questions of
postmemory (M. Hirsch) and of post-postmemory;
  - The memorial aesthetic and the aesthetic and ethics of
representation of intimate memory, capacities of different
representational modes and artistic media for accounting for the

Please send a 300-word abstract and an approx. 200 word bio to Leena
Kurvet-Käosaar (
Deadline: March 15, 2013.

With very best holiday wishes,
Leena Kurvet-Käosaar

Assoc. Prof. of Literary Theory,
University of Tartu
Senior Researcher,
Estonian Literary Museum

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ENN is the European Narratology Network, an association of individual narratologists and narratological institutions. ENN aims to foster the study of narrative representation in literature, film, digital media, etc. across all European languages and cultures.