Hannie Lawlor

Research 

I completed my BA and MSt in French and Spanish at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford.

My DPhil project focuses on the idea of relationality in autobiography theory, and how recent developments in women’s life-writing give us cause to re-examine and revise the concept as it stands.  Relationality crucially pioneers the importance of self-other collaboration in creating autobiographical identity, countering earlier individualistic models and showing female and minority group life-writing to merit equal consideration to male-authored works.  Now that its pivotal impact is firmly established, I argue that there is room to re-engage with the concept, addressing not only the advantages but also the challenges inherent in relational life-writing: the difficulty of balancing voices, and the risk of silencing one story to make room for the other.  My project explores how Marianne Hirsch’s development of postmemory in trauma studies readdresses these relational dynamics,  looking at how French and Spanish texts consciously engage with the self-other power imbalance in auto/biography, and move towards creating a space in which their life-stories can coexist rather than compete.

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