dimanche 11 octobre 2015

The APA in few words

The APA is an association of individuals interested in the autobiographical impulse. Its main goal is the collection, conservation, and dissemination of unpublished autobiographical texts.

In order to accomplish this goal, the APA accepts, reads, and preserves any unpublished autobiographical documents (narratives, correspondence, diaries) it is offered. In this way, it has assembled a rich collection of over 3000 donations. Researchers and ordinary readers can consult them in La Grenette, the public library of the town of Ambérieu-en-Bugey, in the French department of the Ain, close to Lyon. These documents extend from the late eighteenth century to our own day and cover all strata of society. They constitute a remarkable and valuable resource, particularly for researchers in the social sciences.

Texts donated to the APA are first given a “sympathetic reading,” according to an established protocol, by one of the organization’s four reading groups, which writes up a report that is submitted to the donor for approval. The APA does not publish the donated texts itself, but it circulates its reports, or “echoes of reading,” in its descriptive catalogue, the Garde-Mémoire (“the memory cupboard”). These reports, which have been indexed, can also be consulted on line.

The APA’s second goal is to organize opportunities for exchanges and encounters about autobiography in the broadest sense and to bring together people interested in this subject. For this purpose, it organizes an annual “Autobiography Days” weekend, a high point of the organization’s activities, and also round table discussions , “Diary Days,” and other activities (expositions, training sessions, etc.). It also maintains contacts with similar organizations in other European countries and is a member of EDAC (European Diary Archives and Collections).

APA members participate in local groups or groups organized around particular themes, devoted to the reading or rereading of documents in the collection, to autobiographical writing or to reflection. These groups enrich the life of the Association : they permit members, according to their interests, to develop a variety of projects and initiatives.

The APA’s activities give rise to a variety of publications. The magazine La Faute à Rousseau (“Blame it on Rousseau”) appears three times a year, with each number devoted to a particular theme. The volumes of the Garde-Mémoire constitute a descriptive catalogue of the collection. The Cahiers de l’APA are a series of occasional publications on particular themes, which sometimes offer the results of the activities of local or thematic groups.

The APA, founded in 1992, is a non-profit association chartered according to the French law of 1901. The French government recognized it as an organization acting in the public interest in 2006. It is directed by an administrative council, elected by the general assembly held every March, which meets three times a year. Its regular activities are overseen by a committee of seven members. Currently, Philippe Lejeune is its president.

The APA is financed almost entirely through contributions from supporters and members’ dues. If its activities interest you, we invite you to support us, or, even better, to join us.