Studying Life Writing in Nordic and Baltic Contexts. Creative Methods and Approaches

Nordplus Higher Education programme Project NPHE-2022/10047 - Teaching Nordic and Baltic Lives

June 5-9, 2023, Univeristy of Tartu


Monday, June 05

12.30-13.00 Brief introductions

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.30 Introductions continued (students and teachers).

15.30-16.00 Life Writing Research and Collection Traditions in Nordic and Baltic Countries. Topical issues in life writing/life narrative research (Käosaar, Karkla, Smitiene, Adjam)

16.00-16.30 Coffee

16.30-17.30 Current State of Life Writing Studies – a Very Brief Overview (Käosaar)

17.30- 18.45 Practical/creative/critical reading tasks


Tuesday, June 06

Genres of Life Writing

9.30-11.00 Zita Karkla “Travel Writing as Life Writing: Autobiographical Voices and Strategies for Self-representation in Women's Travelogues”

11.00-11.30 Coffee

11.00-12.30 Kairit Kaur “Baltic German Women’s Life Writing”

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-15.00 Practical/creative/critical reading tasks. “Travel Writing as a Self-Portrait” (Karkla)

15.30-17.30 Excursion to the Estonian Literary Museum

17.30-19.00 Creative task


Wednesday, June 07

10.00-11.30 Giedre Smitiene "Letters as an Everyday Pactice of Life Writing. Research of Letters as a Way of Life Reading"

11.30-12.30 Practical/creative/critical reading tasks (Smitiene and Käosaar)

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30 -14.00 Maryam Adjam "Ways of telling: The poetics of memory".

14.00 – 15.30 Practical/creative/critical reading tasks (Adjam)

15.30-16.00 Coffee

16.00-18.00 Practical/creative/critical reading tasks (Adjam) Discussion of readings for Hanna Meretoja’s “Illness Trauma and Life Writing”)


On Thursday, June 08 and Friday, June 09 coursework will merge with the conference Trauma and Healing: Storying Lives, Literary Engagements, Entangled Memories


Of special importance for you are:

1) June 08, 10.30 – 11.30 KEYNOTE. Hanna Meretoja (Department of Comparative Literature, University of Turku). Illness Trauma and Life-Writing

2) 11.30 – 12.30 Session I

11.30 – 12.00 Rebekka Lotman (Department of Comparative Literature, University of Tartu) The Poetics of Death and Mourning: a Study of Three Estonian Poets

12.00-12.30 Merilin Jürjo (Department of Theatre Studies, University of Tartu). The Genuineness of Trauma and Depression in Drama: a Clinician’s View of the Possibilities

13.30-17.00 Field Trip to the Estonian National Museum

4) June 09, 9.00-11.00 (room 104) Bibliotherapy Workshop, Berit Kaschan (Berit’s workshop is related to Hanna’s talk but not in direct manner) The workshop is just for you, it is not part of the conference

5) June 09, 11.30-12.30 KEYNOTE (room 214) Natalia Otrishchenko (Center for Urban History. Lviv). The Story with No Ending: Conducting Interviews in Ukraine after February 24, 2022

6) 13.30-15.30 Session VI (room 109)

13.30-14.00 Maryam Adjam (Department of Cultural Ethnology and Anthropology, Uppsala University) The Tale of Traces. Memoryscapes of the Missing.

14.00-14.30 Siobhan Kattago (Department of Practical Philosophy, University of Tartu). Melancholic Imprisonment in Memory: How ‘Never Again’ Crumbled when Russia Invaded Ukraine

14.30-15.00 Leena Käosaar (Department of Estonian Literature, University of Tartu). The Project “Taking Shelter in Estonia: Stories of Ukrainians Fleeing from the War”: Storying Life Experience of Forced Dislocation

15.00-15.30 Iryna Pupurs (Arendarenko) (Department of Comparative Literature, Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature). The Role of “Traumatic Traces” in the Creation of “Soviet Man”: the Example of the Ukrainian Image of Uzbekistan in Ivan Le’s The Intermountain Novel

7) June 09, 16.00- 17.00 Roundtable. Trauma: (How) Is Healing Possible? (Moderator: Leena Käosaar, Maryam Adjam, Natalia Otrishchenko, Anne Daniel-Karsen, Berit Kaschan) – I know many of you are already leaving at that time, so this is optional.




For Zita’s lecture


1) Cooke, Simon (2016). Inner Journeys, Travel-Writing as Life-Writing. IN: Thompson, Carl, ed., The Routledge Companion to Travel Writing. London: Routledge, pp. 15–24.


2) Kinsley, Zoe (2014). Narrating Travel, Narrating the Self: Considering Women's Travel Writing as Life Writing. Pearson, Jacqueline, ed. Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, Nr. 90 (2) pp. 67-84.


For Giedre’s lecture

Certeau, Michel de, 1988. The Practice of Everyday Life, translated by Steven Rendall, Berkeley–Los Angeles– London: University of California Press.

Stanley, Liz, 2004. “The Epistolarium: On Theorizing the Letters and Correspondences “, Auto/biography, 2004, no. 12, p. 201–235


For Maryam’s lecture and practical task


1) Alyssa Grossman (2015) Forgotten Domestic Objects, Home Cultures, 12:3, 291-310, DOI: 10.1080/17406315.2015.1084757


2) Danielle Elliott (2017) Writing, in: A different kind of ethnography: Imaginative practices and creative methodologies, Elliott & Culhane (eds), 23-44. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (We are trying to compress the file, will send you ASAP)


Reading for the memory walk:

3) Margarethe Kusenbach (2003) Street phenomenology: The go-along as ethnographic research tool. Ethnography, Vol. 4, No. 3, Special Issue: (September 2003), pp. 455-485


For Hanna’s seminar


1) Meretoja, Hanna. “Hermeneutic Awareness in Uncertain Times Post-Truth, Narrative Agency, and Existential Diminishment” In The Use and Abuse of Stories : New Directions in Narrative Hermeneutics, edited by Mark P. Freeman, and Hanna Meretoja, Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 2023, pp. 55-84.

2) Meretoja, Hanna. “Philosophies of Trauma”. In The Routledge Companion to Literature and Trauma, edited by Colin Davis and Hanna Meretoja, Routledge, 23-35.


For Leena’s lecture


1) a/b: Auto/Biography Studies: Vol 32, No 2, „What’s Next: the Futures of Auto/biography Studies, table of contents; Kate Douglas and Ashley Barnwell, Research Methods for Autor/Biography Studies (Routledge 2019), table of contents

2) 3 of the following short articles (you can also select any contribution to the volume and special issue listed above – please ask me for the files, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies can be accessed via Taylor and Frances Online database.


Leena Kurvet-Käosaar (2017) The Archive, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies,

32:2, 355-358, DOI: 10.1080/08989575.2017.1288983


Jeong-Hee Kim (2017) Autobiography as Foucauldian Askēsis: Care of the Self and Care of Others, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, 32:2, 327-329, DOI:10.1080/08989575.2017.1288968


Maria Tamboukou (2017) The Visual Turn and the Digital Revolution, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, 32:2, 359-362, DOI: 10.1080/08989575.2017.1288986


Paul Longley Arthur (2017) Data Portraits: Identity, Privacy, and Surveillance, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, 32:2, 371-373, DOI: 10.1080/08989575.2017.1289007


Gillian Whitlock (2019) Objects and Things. In Kate Douglas and Ashley Barnwell, Research Methods for Autor/Biography Studies (Routledge 2019), pp 34-40