Julia Watson

Julia Watson retired from the Department of Comparative Studies at The Ohio State University in 2014 but retains research and writing interests in aspects of life narrative, feminist theory and women's writing, graphic memoir and postcolonial life writing.

Recent Books

Recent and Forthcoming Essays

  • “Days of Reckoning: Prospects for Live Narrative--2020.” Co-authored with Sidonie Smith. The Untied States: Unraveling National Identities in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Laura J. Beard and Ricia Anne Chansky. Under review, Madison: U Wisconsin P, 2021.
  • “Drawing is the Best Medicine: Somatic Dis-ease and Graphic Revenge in Miriam Katin’s Letting It Go.” Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, special issue on Graphic Medicine. Guest eds. Erin La Cour and Anna Poletti, Autumn 2021.
  • “Manthia Diawara's Autoethnographic Forays from ‘Counter-’ to ‘Strong’ to ‘Beyond’ in Memoir and Film.” Forthcoming, Life Writing, Special issue on Autoethnography, vol. 18, no. 3, Summer 2021.
  • “Alternative, Imaginary, and Affective Archives of the Self in Women’s Life Writing.” Co-authored with Sidonie Smith. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, vol. 40, no. 1, Spring 2021, pp. 15-44.
  • “The Afterlives of Those Who Write Themselves: Rethinking Autobiographical Archives.” Co-authored with Sidonie Smith. European Journal of Life Writing, Special issue “Beyond Endings,” 2020, pp. BE9-BE32. 
  • “Manthia Diawara’s Strategic Ruminations on Migration and the Conundrums of Cinematic Autoethnography.” Cinergie–Il cinema e le altre arti, Special issue, Ed. Alice Cati and Mariagiulia Grassilli, No. 16, 2019, pp. 12-25.
  • “Metalepsis in Autobiographical Narrative.” With Sidonie Smith. European Journal of Life Writing, VIII, 2019, pp. 1-27.
  • “Auto/biographics and Graphic Histories Made for the Classroom, from Logicomix to Abina and the Important Men.” With Sidonie Smith. Oxford University Press Handbook of Comics Studies, ed. Frederick Luis Aldama. Online, 2019.
  • “’Our Selves Were All We Had:’ Parsing the Autobiographical in Fun Home.” Approaches to Teaching Fun Home, ed. Judith Kegan Gardiner. New York: Publications of the Modern Languages Association, 2018, pp. 55-65.
  • “Contrapuntal Reading in Women’s Comics: Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Ellen Forney’s Marbles, co-authored with Sidonie Smith. In Women's Life Writing and the Practice of Reading: She Reads to Write Herself. Ed. V. Baisnée-Keay et al., Palgrave Studies in Life Writing, London: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2018, pp. 21-47.
  • “The Exquisite Ironies of Philippe Lejeune: Nine Auto-Anti-Theses.” European Journal of Life Writing, VII, 2018, pp. 9-18, and Cher Philippe: Festschrift for Philippe Lejeune, Amsterdam: Panchaud, 2018.
  • “The New World of Republishing in Open Access: A View from the Author’s Side.” In consultation with Sidonie Smith. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, January 2018, pp. 232-47.  Featured article in February issue of Informed Librarian Online, 2018.
  • “Parsua Bashi’s Nylon Road: Visual Witnessing and the Critique of Neoliberalism in Iranian Women’s Graphic Memoir.” (Shortened and updated version). Gender Forum, 65, "Contemporary Muslim Women's Voices," Cologne, Germany, 2017, pp. 73-101.
  • “Parsua Bashi’s Nylon Road and The Visual Dialogics of Witnessing in Iranian Women’s Graphic Memoir.” Life Writing in the Long Run, pp. 657-730.
  • “Virtual Play, Visible Lives: The New Subjects of Online Environments.” With Sidonie Smith. Sich selbst aufs Spiel setzen. Spiel als Technik und Medium von Subjektivieren, ed. Christian Moser and Regine Strätling. Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2016, pp. 307-24. (Version of "Virtually Me.”)
  • “Getting or Losing a Life? Privacy and Online Self-Presentation.” With Sidonie Smith. Cultures of Privacy, ed. Fitz, Karsten and Bärbel Harju, #19, Publications of the Bavarian American Academy series, Heidelberg: Winter Verlag, 2015, pp. 259-71.
  • “Patti Smith Kicks in the Walls of Memoir: Relational Lives and “the Right Voice” Just Kids.” a/b: Auto/Biography Studies special issue, "Auto/Biography across the Americas," 30.1 (Spring), 2015, pp. 131-51. Republished in "Auto/Biography in the Americas: Relational Lives," Routledge, 2016.
  • “What about False Witnessing? The Limits of Authenticity and Verification.” With Sidonie Smith. Routledge Companion to Human Rights and Literature, ed. Sophia McClennen and Ali Schultheis Moore, 2015, pp. 243-51.


  • “An Introduction to the Work of Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson.” Journal of Modern Life Writing Studies, Center for Life Writing, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, vol. 13, 2020.
  • “Life Writing Research Past and Present: Interview with Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson.” Sarah Herbe and Julia Novak. European Journal of Life Writing, VIII, 2019, pp. 8–20.
  • L’Homme. Europäische Zeitschrift für Feministische Geschichtswissenschaft, 24: 2 (2013). “Autobiographical Acts: Interview with Julia Watson” (in German), Gabriele Jancke and Claudia Ulbrich, pp. 119-24. Republished in Politik – Theorie – Erfahrung. 30 Jahre Feministische Geschichtswissenschaft im Gespräch, v. 26, ed. Ingrid Bauer, Christa Haemmerle, and Claudia Opitz-Belakhal. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co., 2020, pp. 237-44.

Book Reviews and Review Essays

  • Review essay: Charlotte Salomon. Life? or Theatre? (Leben? oder Theater?) Trans. Leila Vennewitz (1981), including the full “Letter to Amadeus Daberlohn.” New York & London: Overlook Duckworth, Peter Mayer, Inc., 2017, 820 pp. Biography, 42:2 (2019), 438-451.
  • Review essay on Hillary L. Chute, Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form (Harvard University Press, 2016, 359 pp), in Studies in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature, special issue on comics, ed. Frederick Luis Aldama, 42:1, Article 33, 2017.
  • “The 2016 Hogan Prize: Judge’s Review.” a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, Winter 2017, 32: 1, pp. 1-4.
  • “Is Relationality a Genre?” Review Essay on Anne Rüggemeier, Die relationale Autobiographie: Ein Beitrag zur Theorie, Poetik und Gattungsgeschichte eines neuen Genres in der englischsprachigen Erzählliteratur [Relational Autobiography: A Contribution to the Theory, Poetics, and Genre History of a New Genre in English-language Narrative Literature], Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2014. European Journal of Life Writing (online). Vol. 5, 2016, pp. 16-25.