More than Artistry: The Integral Aspect of Autobiography

  • Irene Karpiak University of Oklahoma


Autobiography has generally been recognized for its literary and artistic aspects, and as a result has been largely overlooked as an instructional method in adult and continuing education. This paper argues for a wider use of autobiography in adult and continuing education programs, proposing that autobiography actually encompasses not only the artistic and literary aspects of life writing, but also the theoretical and philosophical. Based on the autobiographical writings of adult learners collected over a decade of teaching, the author suggests that in the course of bringing these dimensions of their lives together, these writers further not only their understanding of themselves and their world, but also their commitment to educational practice, action, and change.