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Autobiographical Theory

  • By: Janet L. Miller
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

Before the 1970s, virtually no autobiographical scholarship existed in the field of curriculum studies. In the realms of literature and literary criticism, classical Western autobiographies for a number of years had focused on public figures and were, for the most part, written by men. Works that did theorize autobiography primarily treated men's life writing. Until the mid-1970s, little work was done in literary studies, especially, on theorizing women's autobiographies other than through formalist categories, such as history and genre. And those theories most often were grounded in liberal feminists' notions of essentialist, universal, singular, and unitary conceptions of “woman,” “gender,” and “voice.”

However, by mid-20th century, autobiography as both literary genre and curriculum discourse in U.S. curriculum studies paired well with existential-phenomenological theories, partly because ...

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