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Research Biografie Instituut

Biography Studies (Brill)

This academic series is devoted to biography as an object and a method of research, with a view to answering the current demand for a theorization of biography as an emerging field, at a crossroads between several disciplines in the humanities. The main goal of the series is to publish leading publications in the field of biography studies.

Biography is considered here as distinct from autobiography. The ‘Biography Studies’ series will not be a solely historical series, nor a series for literary theory, or for Life Writing, but a series for biography studies - genuinely inter- and multidisciplinary, providing the subject of biography its own deserved space. It will not publish (biographical) source publications or biographies, but publications that reflect on and investigate biography/biographies as a research methodology and with regard to its role in public spheres.

Intended audience

The series aims at scholars and students in the field of biography studies, history in general, cultural history, intellectual history, literature studies, arts, social sciences, sociology, psychology, political sciences, economics and philosophy. Since the last two decades, the field of biography studies and life writing is strongly emerging in the academic infrastructure: worldwide more than 60 centres devoted to the study of lives have been founded. This series therefore aims at an international audience, and this is feasible due to the internationally leading role of the Biography Institute.


In the series monographs will be alternated with edited volumes. The aim is to publish at least one volume per year, to be published by Brill Publishers (Boston-Leiden). Next to a hardcover edition, also paperback (student price) and e-book editions of the volumes will be published.


Hans Renders is Professor in History and Theory of Biography and is director of the Biography Institute, both at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He was a member of the founding committee of Biographers International Organization (BIO). He wrote two biographies, about the Dutch poet Jan Hanlo (1998) and the Dutch journalist and author Jan Campert (2004). He is editor of various edited volumes on biography subgenres and the editor in chief of a series of edited reprints of Dutch and foreign biographies. He has published studies on the theme of biography in various international journals, among them Journal of Historical Biography, Le Temps des Médias and Storia della Storiografia. He published the edited volumes Theoretical Discussions of Biography. Approaches from History, Microhistory, and Life Writing (with Binne de Haan: Brill, 2014) and The Biographical Turn. Lives in History (with Binne de Haan and Jonne Harmsma). He is cofounder and vice president of the Société de Biographie/Biography Society.

Advisory Board
  • Dr. Nigel Hamilton (University of Massachusetts Boston, United States)
  • Prof. Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon (University of Iceland)
  • Dr. Lindie Koorts (University of the Free State, South-Africa)


Third volume

In December 2021 Hans Renders and David Veltman published the volume Fear of Theory. Towards a New Theoretical Justification of Biography. The book is the third part of the series Biography Studies, and consists of 18 contributions by Nigel Hamilton, Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon, Emma McEwin, Melanie Nolan, Kerstin Maria Pahl, Eric Palmen, Hans Renders, Carl Rollyson, David T. Roth, István M. Szijártó, Jeffrey Tyssens en David Veltman. The foreword was written by Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson, the current president of Iceland.

David Veltman and Kerstin Maria Pahl were interviewed about this volume in the podcast A Life in Biography.

Cover Profiles in Power

Second volume

In August 2020 the publication Profiles in Power. Personality, Persona and the U.S. President was published as the second volume in the series Biography Studies. The book was edited by Jelte Olthof and Maarten Zwiers, both working at the department of American Studies, University of Groningen. A review by Tizoc Chavez appeared on H-Biography.

Cover Different Lives

First volume

The edited volume Different Lives. Global Perspectives on Biography in Public Cultures and Societies was published in June 2020 as the first volume in the new series Biography Studies. The volume was edited by Hans Renders and David Veltman.

Last modified:03 February 2022 8.56 p.m.
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