On Professionalization, Collaboration, and Mentorship: An Emerging Scholars’ Conversation

In this emerging scholars’ conversation, Jason Breiter, Lucinda Rasmussen, and Orly Lael Netzer summarize their experience as (first-time) guest editors of Biography‘s special issue “Auto/biography in Transit.” In response, Julie Rak reflects on the role of mentorship in academia and her experience leading this team.

The three of us, Jason Breiter, Orly Lael Netzer and Lucinda Rasmusen, are far from the first to respond to the unique experience that is to attend an IABA conference as emerging scholars — Seraphima Kennedy’s review of “Autobiography in Transit” on the Oxford Centre for Life Writing website, as well as “Life Writing in the Canadian Rockies” written by Maria Faini, Elizabeth Rodrigues, and Alex Winder (published on our very own IABA SNS blog) are two wonderful examples. As others, we were struck by the commitment, enthusiasm, care and collegiality of established and emerging life writing scholars — life writing scholars are not only committed to this field but also to its people. In one of those conference coffee-break conversations, John David Zuern mentioned that he believes much of this energy and care is due to the fact that, in many ways, this field was established by feminist scholars and is continuously informed by feminist practices, ethics, and pedagogies. John’s words hit the mark. At the 2014 IABA World conference in Banff, we, (Orly, Lucinda, and Jason) were given the opportunity to become part of the conference team and fully partake in the editing process of the newly published special issue of BiographyAuto/biography in Transit.”  Continue reading “On Professionalization, Collaboration, and Mentorship: An Emerging Scholars’ Conversation”

Hunt: Using Facebook’s Timeline as a Platform for Storytelling

Amin Ansari, a young Iranian novelist, reflects on transforming his novel Hunt into a transmedia project–creating a Facebook profile for his protagonist and using the Facebook Timeline as a way to blur the boundaries between fiction and life, transcend censorship, and explore the limits of readership.

When Facebook released its Timeline in late 2011, millions of real life stories were automatically narrated on users’ profiles. Timeline organized the unstructured feed of data that had previously detailed users’ interactions with the social media interface into a chronological autobiography on each profile page. Although many users tried to ignore or avoid the change, the Timeline eventually became an inherent element of the social media network. Now, status updates, life events and other personal material can be traced and categorized, creating a life story for each user.

While Timeline sparked discussions about users’ rights to privacy, for me as a creative writer, it also brought new possibilities for telling stories in a virtual space where lives and stories were being shared and narrated by everyday people. I was inspired to use Facebook to extend the world of my novel Hunt (2012) by creating a profile for the story’s protagonist Sohrab, a Tehran artist confined to his apartment following a suspicious disaster. Hunt became a transmedia project that used a printed novel and Facebook’s timeline as dual platforms for storytelling. Continue reading “Hunt: Using Facebook’s Timeline as a Platform for Storytelling”


Initiating the IABA SNS Network: A Conversation About Connecting New Scholars

Hi, we’re Maria, Orly and Emma. We wanted to introduce ourselves and let you know a bit about why we thought it was important to start this network for new scholars and graduate students (or postgraduates, depending on where you live!).

Maria, Orly, Emma Photo
(left to right) Maria, Orly, & Emma

Continue reading “Initiating the IABA SNS Network: A Conversation About Connecting New Scholars”