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Persona Studies
Number of Followers: 0  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 2205-5258
Published by Deakin University Homepage  [2 journals]
  • Performing Lives, Producing Life

    • Authors: Katja Lee
      Pages: 1 - 4
      Abstract: This special issue on life writing and persona marks the 15th issue of Persona Studies and the culmination and end point of my eight years working as one of four Managing Editors of the journal. It is both fitting and very exciting then, to be able to wrap up this journey with an exploration of two fields that have long fascinated me: Life Writing Studies and Persona Studies. Indeed, life writing seems both an obvious and natural home for studying persona. The study of life writing has always involved the analysis of identities put into play and, it has become increasingly clear to me over the years, scholars of persona are equally fascinated by the kinds of persona work that life writing can do. Over the past fourteen issues, every single issue has had at least one contribution (often several) that used or drew upon life-writing texts. 
      PubDate: 2022-09-14
      DOI: 10.21153/psj2022vol8no1art1642
      Issue No: Vol. 8, No. 1 (2022)
  • Assembling Academic Persona and Personhood in a Digital World

    • Authors: Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle
      Pages: 9 - 21
      Abstract: Digital automedia have become a standard mechanism for academics seeking to construct and promote their professional profiles. Through a range of autobiographical forms enabled by the digital age, on-line platforms, including blogs, Facebook groups, and Twitter, have become something of a business card for academics. But what about the self-authored personnel narratives that are not shared publicly and serve, nonetheless, as self-portraits of academic life'.  Even tenure and promotion applications, employment letters, and CVs, the most often required documents to gain and maintain access to professional opportunity in academia, are going digital. And they are evolving with the digital age. In some stages of personnel review, those requests are made and via digital methods. Software used for standardization and efficiency, mediates representation of academic subjectivity by restricting users to entering details according the parameters set not only by the standards of the profession, the institutional subscriber, but also by the operating system. Increasing reliance on such systems further reduces academic personhood to chartfields and biodigital data entry that is counter-intuitive to the syncretic processes of making meaning by which individuals experience, remember, and recount their lives inclusive of their careers. My essay turns to narrative theory to assess the impact of digital tools and methods of personnel review on the assemblage and portraiture of academic subjectivity.
      PubDate: 2022-09-14
      DOI: 10.21153/psj2022vol8no1art1563
      Issue No: Vol. 8, No. 1 (2022)
  • ‘It’s What I Do’.

    • Authors: Sini Kaipainen
      Pages: 22 - 37
      Abstract: This close reading of the public persona outlines how high-profile war photojournalist Lynsey Addario articulated ‘it’s what I do’ in her public Instagram account construed as an ongoing digital memoir. Addario’s Instagram profile and her formal journalistic memoir, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (2015), are fluid continuums of different forms and features that support, authenticate, and promote her public work persona, using various visual and literary techniques to articulate ‘it’s what I do’. Through self-life-writing, Addario blurs the distinction between public and private and incorporates her personal life into her work. The strategies common to autobiographical journalism, self-life-writing, and celebrity culture substantiate, authenticate, and promote her brand. Yet, complicating the professional life and persona with personal and intimate performances does not happen without critical concerns such as intimisation and celebritisation of conflict photojournalism. Findings shed light on public persona work in professional photojournalism through personalised, visual, and branded auto/biographical content on Instagram.
      PubDate: 2022-09-14
      DOI: 10.21153/psj2022vol8no1art1520
      Issue No: Vol. 8, No. 1 (2022)
  • Empire of the Self

    • Authors: Kimberly Hall
      Pages: 38 - 51
      Abstract: This article explores how lifestyle blogs use life writing to establish a professional persona and an aura of authenticity that is necessary for maintaining a community of readers. Utilizing close readings of lifestyle blogs across a spectrum of personas, I argue that these two purposes often come into conflict, creating a precarious dynamic for lifestyle bloggers that they attempt to manage through their use of the diary, which is deployed in two key ways. The first is through the use of the diaristic mode, a reflexive and revelatory discourse that disrupts the façade of the self-brand and underscores the blogger’s authenticity. The diary is also used as a prescriptive disciplinary practice in order to create didactic and formulaic narratives that can be readily consumed and replicated but that often result in a sense of inauthenticity.
      PubDate: 2022-09-14
      DOI: 10.21153/psj2022vol8no1art1543
      Issue No: Vol. 8, No. 1 (2022)
  • How Diary / Memoir / Poet Jane Compares With Social Media Jane

    • Authors: Jane Burn
      Pages: 52 - 98
      Abstract: In this creative submission, presented via lyric essay, I examine/identify many aspects of persona, including ones developed through social media use, while writing poetry, in diary/memoir writing, in visual art, and in academic writing. This essay considers how my social media persona differs from the reality, as an autistic person, as expressed through memoir writing. The essay is divided into chapters, touching upon the persona as an asset, my dependence on social media, trivial online quizzes, and speaking truth through #hashtags. I wondered how much I might be trying to ‘sell’ myself to the world. I looked for differences in self as I shifted between personal memoir, Facebook and Twitter. Between those lines, I wonder if I have written the ‘real’ me. The notion of “researching your own life” (Forché & Gerard 2001, p. 45) is of interest to me and this essay concerns itself with who I might be on social media. If “a social media profile is meant to be a representation of an individual” (Humphrey 2017), am I speaking on behalf of myself' I would hope this essay reveals how important it is for an individual to ‘story’ themselves. In choosing excerpts from these versions of self, then placing them together, I discover where the truth of ‘me’ exists and reveal how I have found the courage / desire to understand life through the written word.
      PubDate: 2022-09-14
      DOI: 10.21153/psj2022vol8no1art1522
      Issue No: Vol. 8, No. 1 (2022)
  • “Escape to Impersonality”

    • Authors: Aaron Greenberg
      Pages: 99 - 113
      Abstract: This article reads H.G. Wells’ Experiment in Autobiography (1934) through the lens of Persona Studies to situate life writing in the context of (post) human rights, biopolitics, and surveillance capitalism. Carl Jung’s concept of persona pervades Wells’ writing and life. Persona, for Wells, is the path towards the “impersonality” that is essential to humanity’s evolution. Wells recognized that personas are plural, inconsistent, and evolving performances whose fictional unity, if enacted deliberately without self-delusion, can serve real ends—such as the prolific creative and intellectual work that earned him four nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Further, Wells presents life writing as a human right: the right to tell our own stories, access our own records, represent the personas which we elect, and enjoy the freedom to evolve from one persona to the next. A persona’s double movement, poised between the personal and the impersonal, the individual and the world, the biological and the historical, represents both the form and content of Wells’ Experiment in Autobiography. If Wells gives us reason to hope amidst a global pandemic, the specter of World War III, the proliferation of nuclear arms, and climate catastrophe, it is that these existential threats help us answer the question, “What will come after man'” To consider the answer is not to give up on humankind. On the contrary, to imagine non/post human lifeforms is essential in defining human rights and securing a human future.
      PubDate: 2022-09-14
      DOI: 10.21153/psj2022vol8no1art1544
      Issue No: Vol. 8, No. 1 (2022)
  • Persona Recovery through Homage

    • Authors: Angela Acosta
      Pages: 114 - 130
      Abstract: Tània Balló’s Las sinsombrero documentary series (2015-2021) about modern Spanish women led to the creation of multimedia projects and online spaces for paying homage to forgotten women throughout history. However, such crowdsourced and scholarly recuperation efforts are at odds with the prevailing canonization of the Spanish avant-garde artistic group known as the “Generation of 1927”. A deliberately constructed practice of homage has historically excluded women’s legacies and granted nearly exclusive support for the ten male poets considered the originators of the Generation of 1927. Modern women writers like María Teresa León and Concha Méndez lacked such cultural support and thus constructed personas in their life writing by placing themselves outside the sphere of influence of the Generation of 1927 despite their successful literary careers. This creative piece brings together persona studies and homage to study how performances of prestige by writers and literary historians reveal the gendered, classed, and sexualised ways that the literary history of the Generation of 1927 has been constructed. My proposed theory of homage uncovers the closeted and undocumented sapphic and sororal relationships between women, and imagines queer feminist futures where women’s work is central to understanding the cultural milieux of the Generation of 1927. These poetic tributes are what I call “life-making homages” that celebrate and grant prestige to recuperated knowledge of writers’ queer, undocumented lives. The paper and accompanying poems demonstrate how, through life-making homages, scholars can propose alternate paradigms for tracing the development of the Generation of 1927 as part of Spain’s cultural heritage.
      PubDate: 2022-09-14
      DOI: 10.21153/psj2022vol8no1art1524
      Issue No: Vol. 8, No. 1 (2022)
  • ‘Talent Offends, Genius Terrifies’

    • Authors: Marc Rontsch
      Pages: 131 - 142
      Abstract: Christopher Langford James (1952 – 2008) was a Zimbabwean-born composer, orchestrator and pianist, whose style conflated traditional European musical textures with southern African instrumentation, rhythms, and harmonies. His compositions include works such as Four Portraits for Pianoforte in Four Movements (1982), Songs of Lamentation and Remonstration (1985), Images of Africa (1987), and Paradise Regained (1999). While my research on James’s life and music has uncovered multiple angles for critical inquiry, the dominant narrative that emerged from interviews with his family, and discussions with colleagues, was that of mental illness. This article argues that mental illness – while being a very real condition experienced by James – can simultaneously be understood as doing persona work. Through the intersecting frameworks of persona studies and life writing, this article critically interrogates the understanding of stereotypical concepts of mental illness within the construct of what Kim Barbour terms ‘artistness’. Through critical examination of how mental illness is understood and interpreted as a central construction of artistness, this article speaks to the complexity of the construction of James’s biography, and how the narrative performance of James’s mental illness can be understood within the framework of persona studies.
      PubDate: 2022-09-14
      DOI: 10.21153/psj2022vol8no1art1553
      Issue No: Vol. 8, No. 1 (2022)
  • Dolly Parton’s Mythologised Persona, Collective Life Writing, and
           Building a Home for LGBTQ+ Listeners in Country Music

    • Authors: James Barker
      Pages: 143 - 155
      Abstract: This article conceptualises persona and life writing as being collectively constituted to explore multiplicity in the way country artist Dolly Parton’s persona can be constructed by LGBTQ+ audiences. I use the idea of mythmaking, where myths are neither true nor false, to explore how Parton’s persona and life writing challenge dominant narratives and assumptions around LGBTQ+ belonging in country music, a genre that is increasingly being re-evaluated in terms of its LGBTQ+ representation and queer resonances. Parton’s persona is deeply invested in her constructed life story that represents a collective mythology around the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, Appalachia, and country music. This paper uses close readings of Parton’s songs ‘Coat of Many Colors’ and ‘My Tennessee Mountain Home’ to explore how these texts enable LGBTQ+ listeners to anchor themselves within the life-writing practices of her country music and Appalachia. ‘Coat of Many Colors’ uses an episode from Parton’s life story to work through class and regional representations that also have the potential to resonate with LGBTQ+ experiences through the renegotiation of narratives of shame that become reworked into pride and acceptance. My reading of ‘My Tennessee Mountain Home’ expands on this using the idea of home and the affective role this has within queer narratives to explore how Parton situates LGBTQ+ experiences within the genre of country music. The final part of this article considers the importance of anti-racism and intersectional critiques of overly romanticised narratives around Parton to ensure multiplicity when conceptualising the role of persona in Parton’s work.
      PubDate: 2022-09-14
      DOI: 10.21153/psj2022vol8no1art1541
      Issue No: Vol. 8, No. 1 (2022)
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