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History & Purpose

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The Center for Biographical Research

Established in 1988, the Center for Biographical Research (CBR) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is dedicated to the interdisciplinary and multicultural study of life writing. CBR programs include teaching, publication, and outreach activities. As part of the University of Hawai‘i, CBR assists in BA, MA, and PhD projects, and CBR faculty affiliates regularly teach graduate and undergraduate courses in life writing. The CBR publishes Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, the premier scholarly journal in its field. Appearing continuously since 1978, Biography explores the theoretical, historical, generic, cultural, and practical dimensions of life writing.


The CBR coproduces the television documentary series Biography Hawai‘i, and in affiliation with University of Hawai‘i Press, it publishes the Biography Monograph series, designed to facilitate the study and practice of life writing in all its forms.


Since 1988 the CBR has held a weekly lunch-time public lecture series called Brown Bag Biography. In 2008, it hosted the 6th Biennial Conference of the International Autobiography and Biography Association, the major conference in the field of life writing, and the CBR holds other smaller conferences and seminars as well. The CBR maintains a library and resource collection.


All of these activities fulfill the CBR’s commitment to supporting and publicizing contributions to life writing in Hawai‘i, in the nation, and around the world.




The Biographical Research Center

The Biographical Research Center (BRC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Hawai‘i in 1978 to support research, study, discussion, and dissemination of information about life writing. Its current principal responsibility is to provide oversight and financial support for the activities of the University of Hawai‘i’s Center for Biographical Research.



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