Anna Poletti

Teaching Life Narrative in the context of Decolonizing the Curriculum

This brief presentation will outline how teaching life narratives can be used to disrupt canonical accounts of national literatures, particularly in undergraduate courses that work with a linear logic of national literature. Drawing on my experiences teaching Australian literature in Australia, American Literature courses and literary theory courses in the Netherlands, I will reflect on the importance of a range of life narrative genres, often excluded from traditional definitions of the Literature, to expanding students understanding of the development of national literatures, and disrupting the dominant logic of the national literature canon.


Anna Poletti is an associate professor of English Language and Culture at Utrecht University (The Netherlands), and co-editor of Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly. Their more recent work is a book, Stories of the Self: Life Writing After the Book (NYU Press, 2020).