Past Program

Sep 30 - Oct 06, 2006

The "Telling of Lives": Biography as a Mirror on Society


The genre biography enjoys unprecedented popular appeal and influence; people take meaning from individual lives in their struggle to understand the human endeavor, in their attempt to fathom individual motivation, achievement, or greatness. But, perhaps even more significantly, biography -whether in the form of a book, film, play, or portrait - serves as a mirror on culture, society, and history, and, as such, can radically impact thinking about the past and the present. This session will convene a diverse international group of participants creatively engaged in the "telling of lives" - biographers, filmmakers, actors, portrait artists, photographers, journalists, literary critics and scholars - to shed new light on the following questions: How can biography influence our understanding of specific historical or social contexts? What do biographies tell us - by the subjects chosen, by the stories related, by the mode of the telling - about the cultures that produce them? Who has the right to produce a biography - can a biographer understand his or her subject across boundaries of race, gender, or ethnicity? What impact does the creative medium - book, film, theater, portraiture - have on biography? What particular power does biography have to shape public perception and opinion, to enlighten, to change minds?

The fee for this session is 3,300 EURO. The fee covers the cost of the program, accommodations, and meals.

Limited financial aid is available and is awarded based on need. Applicants who believe they qualify for assistance should explain their circumstances in a letter, which should be submitted with their application.



This session is made possible by a generous grant from the Cone foundation.