Directed by Professor Yang Zhengrun and Professor Liu Jialin (Deputy Director), the Center for Life Writing, Shanghai Jiao Tong University was founded in January 2012 with a dozen of life-writing researchers serving as senior fellows or adjunct fellows. The center is designed to meet the society’s requirement of life-writing culture, conduct life-writing researches, develop the discipline of life writing, cultivate life-writing talents, explore means of modern life-writing development and promote academic exchanges with the life-writing community at home and abroad.
The major work of our center is the accomplishment of the Major Project sponsored by National Social Sciences Fund (“Compilation and Research of Overseas Life Writing on Modern Chinese People,” 11&ZD138). Our center also takes pride in the journal we offer, Journal of Modern Life Writing Studies. Founded in November, 2013, this journal is published in spring and autumn every year by The Commercial Press (Beijing) and receives funding support from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Original articles in English or Chinese are published with full English references on our journal only after being peer-reviewed anonymously by experts in the associated fields from our pool of experts in line with international practices. Having widely established ties with the international academic community, we boast an academic board of distinguished international scholars, fulfilling the advisory and counselling functions. Our contributors are not confined to China either. They are also from the U.S., the U.K., France, Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, etc. Our journal is the only academic journal in the Greater China Region dedicated to life writing, thus being well accepted by and of interest to the international academic community.
The Modern Life Writing Library by our center has been launched by Guangxi Normal University Press and thus far includes Organization and Development of Life Writing Resources (a treatise edited by Chen Jin, ), The Biographer’s Revenge: Essays of Modern Western Research and Life Writing (edited by Liang Qingbiao), The Rock and the Rainbow: Selected Essays on Life Writing by Zhengrun Yang (edited by Yuan Qi) and Oral History Studies (a treatise written by Wang Jun).
Our center serves as the bridge between Chinese and foreign life-writing researchers and authors and promotes academic activities. In October 2013, an international conference “Overseas Portraiture of Chinese Lives: Life Writing and the Current Trend” was hosted by our center. In October 2016, another international conference “Life Writing and Film Biography in the Trans-Cultural Context” was hosted by our center too. Over 80 scholars from across the world attended each conference and discussed a wide variety of topics. In addition, we have held several domestic conferences and forums. In December 2014, a youth forum “Issues in Modern Life Writing Researches and Writing” was held by our center. In December 2017, a forum of “Life Writing and Literature in the Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Era" was jointly sponsored by our center and Qingdao University of Science and Technology. Our center will hold IABA Asia-Pacific Conference 2019 as authorized by International Auto/Biography Association (IABA) on Asia-Pacific life writings and cultures scheduled in Autumn 2019.
Both undergraduate and graduate (for MA and Ph.D) courses are available at our center and our scholars and Ph.D candidates/students have opportunities to go abroad for further studies and visit. Our center is open to international visiting scholars and welcomes all forms of academic cooperation, including writing and editing of life writings, compiling life-writing materials, providing guidance, etc.