“Studying narrated lives is changing lives.” – Dr. Chansky
Congratulations are in order for Dr. Ricia Chansky! This past November she released her latest book: “The Routledge Auto | Biography Studies Reader.” This book is an anthology of theories in Autobiography Studies, and is divided into three sections: the Foundation of the Field, the Transformation of the Field and the Future of the Field. Autobiography Studies looks at all the components that structure our identities (gender, ethnicity, language, etc.), but it is also an interdisciplinary field. It departed from literature, extended to the study of minorities with the arrival of women’s literature, queer theory, etc., and then grew into what it is today. That is, a way to understand lives, global communities, people different from ourselves, and each other as individuals.
“Literature crosses boundaries,” Dr. Chansky expressed, “I write because it helps me and then what I write helps somebody else.” Autobiographies are being used as a way of treatment by psychologists and by doctors as a way to help patients who have been diagnosed with terminal or chronic illnesses like cancer. Demonstrating their power and usefulness, these autobiographies help these patients see how their story matters and aid the doctors in understanding what they are feeling in order to improve their treatment. These narratives have been known to help others who might be going through the same struggle.
Dr. Chansky worked on this book for two years with the collaboration of UPRM graduate students and the guidance of senior scholars in her field. She also has two more books in line to release; one in March and another in August 2016. Her recently published book will be used in classrooms all over the world by undergraduate, graduate and junior scholars in the field.
It is also worth emphasizing to all of the English Majors out there to know that there are research opportunities on campus. If you are interested in being part of a research, please be sure to approach one of your professors or visit the Department’s Office (CH-323) to be informed of the great opportunities and make the most out of them.
Again, congratulations to Dr. Chansky for her outstanding work!