Exploring the Autobiography

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Brought to you by Odyssey

March 23, 2022 - April 27, 2022 (6 sessions)

Wednesday, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM ET

Why should we learn about autobiography? What is gained by writing an autobiography? Should we all write one? Is there a right moment to write one? In this course, we will break down the why, what, and when of writing an autobiography. Using several model examples as a backdrop, we will answer these questions to inspire students to write and discuss their own short essays on the key events and people that have shaped their lives and personalities. This course is highly interactive and all will be encouraged to participate in discussion and writing.

Supplemental Readings
Gordon W Allport: Becoming. Basic Considerations for a Psychology of Personality (Yale University Press, 1955, 106 pages).

Laura Marcus: Autobiography. A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2018, 145 pages)

Qi Wang et al: Culture, Memory, and Narrative Self-Making

Journal of ImaginaBon, CogniBon, and Personality: Consciousness in Theory, Research & Clinical Practice. 2017, Vol. 37, No. 2, pages 199-223.

Johns Hopkins Tuition Remission Policies

Current and retired full-time Johns Hopkins faculty and staff, as well as their spouses or domestic partners, are eligible for tuition remission. Eligibility details can be found here.

After registration, tuition remission eligibility will be confirmed by the Odyssey registrar. If eligibility cannot be confirmed, you will be required to pay full tuition for the course. Under the terms of the University’s remission program, Hopkins employees must withdraw in writing at least five working days before the first class to receive a 100% refund. No partial refunds are given to JHU employees and affiliates. All other participants should review the JHAA Event Cancellation and Refund Policy

Session 1Why learn about the Autobiography?  March 23, 2022   06:30:00 PM

How do we use autobiography to explore the knowledge of ourselves and the world?

Session 2Examples of Autobiographies. March 30, 2022   06:30:00 PM

St Augustine, B Russell, R Descartes, Sor Juana, Bertha von Suttner, and more.

Assignment: Read 2 literary excerpts

Session 3The Stage of Life April 6, 2022   06:30:00 PM

What are our most significant experiences & epiphanies in our lives thus far?

Assignment: draft our story outline

Session 4Narratives in Search of Identity: Dialogue, Therapy, Confession & Conversion April 13, 2022   06:30:00 PM

Identifying our personal standards through questioning and shared experiences.

Assignment: A revised story outline

Session 5Autobiographies of our Heroes & Heroines April 20, 2022   06:30:00 PM

What do our choices as readers of autobiographies say about ourselves? What parallels do we draw to our own stories?

Session 6My Story April 27, 2022   06:30:00 PM

What am I? What have I been? Changed or the same? Progression or regression? What have we discovered about the stability or transformation of our personality based on our exploration of self.

Assignment: Final story draft

ABOUT José López-González (Ph.D, KSAS '92)

José López-González, holds a BA in Economics from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, Monterrey Mexico; MA in Economics from William College, Massachusetts; and MA and PhD in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. He is an economist, philosopher, and lecturer. He has worked as an Economist at the Investment Bank Financiera Aceptaciones and at the Mexican Federal Reserve Bank, both in Mexico City, Mexico. Dr. López-González taught philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at Loyola University for seven years and has been faculty in the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science at Towson University since 1996, teaching courses in Philosophy, politics, economics, and Latin America. Since 2010, he has been teaching interdisciplinary courses in philosophy, politics and economics as a lecturer at the Odyssey Program at Johns Hopkins University, and since 2014 at several campuses of the Baltimore County Community College. Dr. López-González is a Lecturer in the new program at the Alumni Relations Office at Johns Hopkins University. He has published articles in philosophy and economics and took courses in Micro and Macroeconomics at Harvard University.

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 Event Date
Wednesday, March 23, 2022
6:30pm EDT

Wednesday, April 27, 2022
8:30pm EDT

1-800-JHU-JHU1 (548-5481)

Status message

Thank you for your interest in Odyssey. This course is now closed. For questions please contact odyssey@jhu.edu or revisit the website and try something new!