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About IABA

The first International Auto/biography conference, Peking University 1999


IABA at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2008



IABA Canberra, Australia, 2012

IABA World


In 1999, Zhao Baisheng created the International Auto/biography Association  (IABA) at the First International Auto/Biography Conference at Peking University, attended by delegates from Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America. IABA's stated aims at the time were to broaden the world vision of auto/biographers, scholars and readers, to deepen the cross-cultural understanding of self, identity and experience, and to carry on global dialogues on life writing. An organizing committee was formed in Beijing. After the conference, Craig Howes, director of the Center for Biographical Research at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, set up a listserv for IABA.

Since 1999, IABA has held eight international conferences in Asia, North America, Australia and Europe. Susanna Egan, Gabriele Helms and Shirley Neuman organized the second IABA conference – ‘Autobiography and Changing Identities’ – at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver in July 2000. Two years later, Richard Freadman, Director of the Unit for Studies in Biography and Autobiography, hosted the third IABA conference – ‘Life Writing and the Generations’ – at La Trobe University, Melbourne. David Parker, Chair of the English Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, held the fourth biennial IABA conference – ‘Inhabiting Multiple Worlds: Auto/Biography in an (Anti-)Global Age’ – in Hong Kong. In 2006, Alfred Hornung organized the fifth IABA conference – ‘Auto/Biography and Mediation’ – at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. Craig Howes hosted the sixth IABA conference – ‘Life Writing and Translations’ – at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in 2008. In 2010 Margaretta Jolly, with Sam Carroll, organized the seventh IABA international conference at the Centre for Life History and Life Writing, University of Sussex. In 2012 the Australian National University hosted the sixth international IABA conference, ‘Framing Lives’, in association with the National Portrait Gallery – convened by Paul Arthur, Rosanne Kennedy and Gillian Whitlock. In 2014, Julie Rak, Laurie McNeill, Eva Karpinski and Linda Warley hosted 'Auto/biography in Transit' at the Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. In 2016, Amy Podromou and Stephan Stephanides of the University of Cyprus convened "Excavating Lives" in Nicosia, Cyprus.

IABA Europe

 The first chapter of IABA began when Alfred Hornung, Marijke Huisman, Anneke Ribberink and Monica Soeting hosted the first IABA-Europe conference in Amsterdam in 2009. The chapter holds conferences biannually in the year when IABA World is not running. The IABA-Europe chapter continued its activities in 2011 with a conference at the University of Tallin, Estonia, organized by Leena Kurvet-Käosaar, Maris Saagpakk, Piret Peiker and Maarja Hollo. The IABA-Europe 2013 conference, ‘Beyond the Subject: New Developments in Life Writing’, was held 1 October – 3 November 2013, in Vienna, Austria, hosted by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography.The IABA Europe 2015 conference was hosted by the Centre for Atlantic Studies and the European Journal of Life Writing in Madeira, Portugual, and was called Dialogical Dimensions in Narrating Lives and Life Writing.

IABA Chapter of the Americas

This chapter was begun by Ricia A. Chansky and Emily Hipchen, editors of the journal a/b: Auto/biography Studies. The members of its steering committee come from South America, Central America, the Caribbean and North America. The Americas Chapter of IABA was founded at the conference, “Auto/Biography across the Americas: Reading beyond Geographic and Cultural Divides,” held from 22-25 July 2013 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.The first full IABA Americas conference, called "Encounters Across the Americas: Archives, Technologies, Methods" was held in 2015 on the campus of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, co-convened by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson.

IABA Asia-Pacific

Founded in 2014 by Kate Douglas as a result of conversations with Gillian Whitlock, Anna Poletti, Paul Arthur, Maureen Perkins, Rocio Davis, and Philip Holden, IABA's newest chapter hosted its first conference in 2015 at Flinders University in Australia. 

IABA at the Chinese University of Hong Kong 2004




IABA at the University of Sussex 2010




IABA Americas 2015
IABA Americas, U. of Michigan USA, 2015