Julia Watson

Professor Emerita
Core Faculty

My books with Sidonie Smith include Reading Autobiography: A Guide to Interpreting Life Narratives (revised edition, Univ. of Minnesota Press, July 2010) and five co-edited collections (see below). A selection of my essays is also listed below. My current projects include a collaborative book on autobiographical hoaxes, an essay on canons in Fun Home (Life Writing, 2012), and an essay on autobiography and genealogy. Other research and teaching interests include feminist theory and women's writing, postcolonial writing, and  automediality.


“Getting or Losing a Life? Privacy and Online Self-Presentation.” With Sidonie Smith. In Cultures of Privacy, ed. Fitz, Karsten and Bärbel Harju. #19, Publications of the Bavarian American Academy series.  Heidelberg: Winter Verlag, 2015. 

“Mary MacLane.” Encyclopedia Britannica, (1400 words). 2015. http://www.britannica.com/biography/Mary-MacLane

“Remembering James Olney.”  Biography, 38.4 (Fall 2015), xv-xviii.

“’Our Selves Were All We Had:’ Parsing the Autobiographical in Fun Home.” In Approaches to Teaching Fun Home, ed. Judith Kegan Gardiner, Modern Languages Association, forthcoming 2016.

Invited Lectures

 “How to Read Autobiographical Narration,” Forum für Literaturwissenschaftliche Japanforschung, Free University, Berlin, Feb. 27, 2016.

“Miriam Katin’s Autographics and Jewish Women’s Life Writing,” Zentrum für Jüdische Studien, Berlin, Feb. 23, 2016.

"Self-Presentation and “Authenticity" in American Life Writing,” Annual Meeting of the Historians in the German Association of American Studies, Tutzing, Germany, Feb. 5, 2016.

“Art Practices, Digital Platforms, Autobiographical Provocations,” with Sidonie Smith. “Ego Media International Network Workshop,” King’s College, London, 14 Sept., 2015.

“Drawn Reading: The Materiality of Literary and Artistic Influence in American Women’s Graphic Memoirs,” with Sidonie Smith. "She Reads to Write Herself,” Paris Ouest FAAAM Colloquium, Sept. 19, 2015.


Conference Paper:

“Graphic Memoirs of Rape in Wartime: Telling New Stories of Surviving Violence,” “Responsibility, Morality, and the Costs of War,” Dept. of Theatre, The Ohio State University, November 14, 2015.


Conference Activities

“Graphic Memoirs of Rape in Wartime: Telling New Stories of Surviving Violence,” “Responsibility, Morality, and the Costs of War,” Dept. of Theatre, The Ohio State University, November 14, 2015.

Co-convener with Sidonie Smith: First Biennial Conference of the International Auto/Biography Association---Americas Chapter: “Encounters Across the Americas: Archives, Technologies, Methods.”  Humanities Institute,University of Michigan, June 4-7,  2015.

“Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women” symposium and exhibition. Billy Ireland Cartoon Library.Co-organizer. Symposium--April 19, 2015.


Editorial and Advisory Boards

2015    Advisory Board, Palgrave-St. Martin’s book series: Studies in Life Writing

2015    Editorial Board, Palgrave-St. Martin’s book series” Literary Anthropology

2012--  Advisory Board, Handbook of Autobiography/Autofiction (3 vols.), ed. Martina Wagner-Egelhaaf, Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 2016--.

2005--  Women’s Studies Quarterly, Advisory Board

1998-- A/B: Auto/Biography Studies

Areas of Expertise
  • Theorizing Autobiography
  • Life Narrative
  • Feminist Theory and Women's Writing
  • Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine

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