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AHRC Research Network ‘Challenges to Biography’

Published: 13 April 2011
AHRC

A Southampton Philosophy academic is working collaboratively with colleagues in History on an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project to provide a cross-disciplinary forum on biography.

The last two decades have witnessed a huge expansion of research into the nature of biography. One of the great strengths of this burgeoning research culture is its interdisciplinary nature, with researchers from a wide range of academic disciplines, as well as freelance biographers and scholars unattached to any academic institution.

This very strength, however, presents biography with a series of challenges. Most notably, communication across academic disciplines and between academic and non-academic writers can often prove difficult.

The aim of theChallenges to Biography' network is to meet these challenges, providing a platform for discussion that will be interdisciplinary, international, and inclusive. Users of the network may include academics who write biography, theorists who write about biography, freelance biographers, agents, and publishers; or indeed anyone else who simply has an interest in biography - everyone is welcome to register on the website and become involved.

Hosted by the Faculty of Humanities, and supervised by Professor Ray Monk (Philosophy) and Dr Adrian Smith (History), the network will remain active beyond its two-year funding period of 2011-12. The University of Southampton's partners are hosts for the network's two symposia, with speakers who are recognised authorities on various aspects of biography:

Challenges to biography from prevailing intellectual currents
University of Edinburgh, 1 July 2011

Challenges to biography in an era of digital revolution, economic downturn, and intellectual audit
University of Nottingham, 20 December 2011

There then follows an international conference, posing the question 'Can biography survive?'

University of Southampton, 3-4 July 2012

For details of all three events see the AHRC Biography Network website.

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