Life stories in motion: Subaltern autobiographical practices in the 18th and 19th centuries
Date: 24 - 26 November 2016
Convenor: Malte Griesse (Konstanz, GER)
During the workshop we dealt with subaltern autobiographical practices in the 18th and 19th centuries. In our understanding the term ‘subalterns’ embraces rather heterogeneous social strata ranging from ‘commoners’ to representatives of marginalised groups, outcasts, serfs, slaves, etc. Instead of isolating texts, we examined these writings in their larger contexts, often with regard to inter-social exchange. In general, the immediate environment showed little understanding for such ‘vain pastimes’. Therefore intellectuals with more or less specific political agendas often served as interlocutors and played keyroles in encouraging such writing practices. But the frame conditions differed significantly in regional terms, on the one hand due to diverging social composition, for instance according to the degree of industrialisation, on the other hand depending on how deeply autobiographical traditions were rooted in respective political grammars. This is why the workshop brought together a team that is at the same time interdisciplinary and represents different regional and linguistic competences allowing us to study autobiographical practices both comparatively and in their entanglements via mutual reception, translation, appropriation and transformation.