CfP Fritz Hüser Summer Academy 2022 “Life Writing and Deindustrialization“

June 18-20, 2023, Sydney (Nova Scotia, CA)

Within the framework of the international research network Deindustrialization and the Politics of our Time (DePOT), the Fritz Hüser Institute for Literary and Cultural Work Studies is organizing a transnational workshop on the topic of “Life Writing and Deindustrialization” from June 18-20, 2023. Young researchers in the final stage of their studies, doctoral candidates, and post-docs from all the humanities and social sciences are invited to discuss their own approaches to the topic with fellow researchers and internationally established experts. The Summer Academy format is focused on sustained exchange within a small group of 8 emerging scholars and 4 mentors. Together, and in even smaller clusters, participants will discuss texts written by the participants or material that they have selected and that is relevant for their projects.

Life-writing as life storytelling embraces such diverse autofictional and factual genres as autobiographies, biographies, essays, diaries, letters, notes, Instagram posts, stories and reels, tweets, interviews, songs, or documentaries. That the use of social media has led to the rise of life- writing is an assumption worth checking. However, at the latest since the success of Didier Eribon’s “Retour à Reims” (2009) and its translations into German (2016) and English (2018), life-writing is unquestionably on an upswing, at least in the European context. Furthermore, the autofictional/ autobiographical writings of precursors such as Tove Ditlevsen in Denmark, Annie Ernaux in France (who also marked the genre description I’auto-socio-biographie) or Stuart Hall in the UK vouch for the literariness of the genre and always reflect their own narrative stance and the position of the narrative voices in the diegesis as well as the historical-subjective situatedness of the narrative. All these texts also draw attention to the intersectionality of social and ethnic origin, age, gender, etc., and to the forms of disadvantage associated with them. Last but not least, they also deal with life-world uncertainties, ruptures, professional reorientation, promises of freedom, unemployment or poverty, which can partly be traced back to deindustrialization processes.

Against this background, but also against the background of the many life-writing documents from below within the context of deindustrialization processes, the Summer Academy will explore questions about the forms, manifestations, aesthetics, styles, rhetorics, and poetics of life-writing and their connection to narratives of deindustrialization; but also questions about life-writing as a cultural, aesthetic, and symbolic practice or form of knowledge that provides and reflects dominant or so-called subaltern, that is, rather hidden aspects of subjective experiences of deindustrialization.


This Summer Academy is a multilingual event. Mentors will be matched to the language needs of the scholarship holders.

The Fritz Hüser Institute for Literary and Cultural Work Studies offers a maximum of eight scholarships in the amount of 2,000 euros, which should also cover the costs of travel, meals and accommodation. Participants are encouraged to remain in Sydney for the DePOT Summer Institute (June 21-22) and our International conference (June 22-24) on “The Politics of Industrial Closure” which immediately follow.

Working language

The working language in the plenary sessions is English, but applications in all languages are very welcome.

Applicants are requested to send a brief description of their project (max. 1800 characters including spaces) and a concise CV (max. 2 pages) to Iuditha Balint ( by December 19, 2022. The applicants will be informed about the result of the selection process in January 2023 at the latest.


Fritz Hüser Institute for Literary and Cultural Work Studies:
Deindustrialization and the Politics of our Time:


Dr. Iuditha Balint: