Challenges in the Teaching of Biography, Li Shan Chan
I seek to describe some immediate challenges in the teaching of biography writing to 11th Grade students with regards to the Pūowaina/Punchbowl Memorial Writing Project, a new fellowship initiative to remember interred veterans at the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawai’i. In the process of discussing and dissecting the issues, we will identify strategies needed to strengthen the quality of student biography writings.
Chan Li Shan is a first-year doctoral student in the English department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with a research focus on life writing. Prior to this, she was Director of the Writing Center at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong.
What is a “Rebel” biography anyway? Kylie Cardell
Is biography always conservative? This discussion reflects on using “rebel” biography written for children (“Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls” and the “Rebel Dogs” and “Rebel Cats” books) to engage students with short texts and “light-hearted” material. Can these texts lead students to critically discuss and reflect on the power of the biographical “story” in contemporary culture?
Kylie Cardell is Senior Lecturer in English at Flinders University, South Australia. She is the author of Dear World: Contemporary Uses of the Diary (University of Wisconsin) and the Essays editor for the scholarly Australian journal Life Writing.
Teaching French-Australian Migrant Writing to Australian Students of French, Natalie Edwards and Christopher Hogarth
This paper discusses our teaching of material amassed through our current research project on life writing by French migrants to Australia, funded by the Australian Research Council. First, we teach extracts to our First-Year French students, aiming to foster reading skills, to extend knowledge of vocabulary/grammar, and to increase cultural awareness. Second, in an upper-level course for use beyond the French curriculum, we study longer extracts in translation. At this level, we aim for the students to learn about the long-term connections between French writers and Australia and to reflect upon Australian culture from the perspective of another language.
Natalie Edwards is Associate Professor of French at the University of Adelaide. Christopher Hogarth is Senior Lecturer in French and Comparative Literature at the University of South Australia. They specialise in French life writing and migrant writing.
Diary Fiction in the Life Writing Classroom, Desiree Henderson
My remarks will address the benefits of incorporating diary fiction into life writing classes, particularly those that focus on nonfiction diaries. I will discuss the diary fiction genre and its curiously marginal place in literary studies despite its historical and global ubiquity. I will suggest works of contemporary diary fiction that have particular relevance to issues commonly addressed in life writing classes: identity, sexuality, trauma, etc. And I will make a case for the value of teaching diary fiction alongside nonfiction diaries, as either entrance or exit points for such genre study.
I am Associate Professor of English at University of Texas Arlington and the author of How to Read a Diary: Critical Contexts & Interpretive Strategies for 21st-Century Readers (Routledge 2019) as well as numerous articles about diaries and diary fiction. I am currently working on an anthology of diary fiction.