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Into a New Light: Re-Envisioning Educational Possibilities for Biography

Language and Literacy
Publication Date
  • Education
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science


The role of biography in education has been challenged in recent years on two interrelated fronts. The first relates to the epistemological question of how knowledge is constructed through biographical inquiry. The second concerns the ontological problem of redefining biography to include for example, all life-writing and the democratizing impulse to value the ordinary as much as the extraordinary. In this article, I address the epistemological and ontological concerns that challenge concretized notions of the role of biography in education, by shedding light upon recent theoretical perspectives that illuminate the biographer’s critical stance, deconstruct the socially and historically situated biographer, subject, and reader, and evaluate the various methods employed in the process of reconstructing life histories for the consummation of others.

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