Call for Papers: Psychobiography

Special Feature, Winter 2024 (and ongoing)
Submissions are due January 1, 2024

Dear Colleague,

For this Winter 2024 Special Feature of Clio’s Psyche, we welcome your submissions with psychoanalytic, psychological, and psychohistorical insights, on PSYCHOBIOGRAPHY, including the following subjects:

  • The autobiographies of psychobiographers (eventually to be included in an edited book along with psychobiographies they have written).
  • Focus comparatively on the coping mechanisms of people in psychobiography.
  • Psychobiographical studies that illustrate transgenerational transmission of trauma and resilience.
  • Presenting a case study of an academic psychologist going beyond personal. characteristics and traits to emphasize the childhood and life passage of the whole person.
  • A psychobiographical study of a major academic psychologist relating theory to her/his life.
  • Presenting a case study of an academic psychoanalyst focusing much less on theory. after undergoing psychoanalytic training and delving into the childhood and inner life in a different manner.
  • Teaching psychobiography.
  • A comparative study of the approaches and methodologies of psychobiographers from a variety of fields.
  • A comparative psychobiography of ordinary people in crisis such as what is happening in Ukraine.
  • The role of gender: A comparative study of the psychobiographies written by women and men.
  • An in-depth study of psychobiographies of the 20thcentury including early Freudian ones.
  • Book reviews on psychobiographical monographs.
  • Reviews of psychobiographical books and major media biographies.

We seek articles from 1,500-3,500 words—including your title, author name with affiliation, a 25-word abstract, 7-10 keywords, and your brief biography (3-4 sentences) ending in your email address. Send documents in Microsoft Word (*docx or doc) format to Paul Elovitz (cliospsycheeditor@gmail.com). One or two high-quality, extremely well written articles of up to 4,000 words may be accepted to serve as symposium articles on individuals of great interest open to many different approaches if received two months before the deadline submissions.  For example, for the Winter 2024 issue, which has a September 15th submissions deadline, the longer potential symposium paper would be due July 15th. For Clio’s style guidelines, please refer to our website (cliospsyche.org/guidelines).


Here is some history related to this Call for Papers:

In 2021, we created the Psychobiography Research and Publication Group (PsychobiographyForum.com), and now we want to offer the opportunity for colleagues to write articles for it. Although most of my twelve-page list of psychobiographical articles are on U.S. presidential psychobiography, we welcome submissions in all possible areas that delve into the lives of the most important, interesting, and ordinary people, living and dead.

In the past, we have had Psychobiographical Virtual Forum meetings on subjects such as organization and another on when Claude-Hélène Mayer presented on Angela Merkel and Graça Machel. Our Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma and Resilience presentation by Inna Rozentsvit had extensively psychobiographical elements as did the Putin and Ukraine presentation by Juhani Ihanus, David Beisel, and Paul Elovitz.

We would like you and other colleagues to write psychobiographies on people preferably in your field of expertise.  While two of the three leaders of our Psychobiography Group are trained as psychoanalysts, our main concern is to publish psychologically informed and well-written biographies that focus on the facts of the person’s background and life experience rather than from any theoretical framework.

The psychobiography we publish focuses on the why, that is, the motives of an individual and sometimes a group of individuals (prosopography).  It is much more explanatory and interpretive than biography.  Usually, it starts with the early childhood experiences of an individual but then goes beyond these origins to an in-depth understanding of the subject’s personality and life decisions, drawing on psychoanalytic, psychological, psychohistorical, and other scholarship.  It is not pathography. Hanging a psychiatric diagnostic label on someone, often a disdained political leader, usually closes the door on future investigation and knowledge.  Psychobiography is about deepening our knowledge and opening new doors of inquiry and writing transcultural studies about people from all over the world. The importance of psychobiography is that it offers the best method of uncovering the conscious and unconscious lives of people.  Psychobiographers often come from history, journalism, literary studies, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychology.

Clio’s Psyche and the Psychohistory Forum:

It is the style of our scholarly quarterly to publish thought-provoking, clearly written articles usually based upon psychoanalytic/psychological insight and developed with examples from history, current events, and the human experience. We are open to all psychological and psychohistorical approaches and prefer those articles be personalized, without psychoanalytic/ psychological terminology or jargon.

We have converted to a modified version of the latest APA citation system, which has very few references and those overwhelmingly for direct quotes. We emphasize good literary style without referring to authorities except when essential.  Indeed, we discourage citations except where there are quotations, or they are otherwise essential. Submissions the editors deem suitable are anonymously refereed in our double-blind system. Once you have submitted your article, please do not make any further edits to the piece until we return it to you if necessary.

For those who are not familiar with our publication and its sponsor, Clio’s Psyche is in its 29th year of publication by the Psychohistory Forum, a 42-year-old organization of academics, therapists, and laypeople holding regular scholarly meetings in Manhattan, at international conventions, and virtually. For information on our publication and back issues over a year old, go to our website at cliospsyche.org/archives.

Write Paul Elovitz for information on how to join our group and read our print journal. Also, contact me for the link to the Google Form that makes you a member of the Psychobiography Research and Publication Group.

Starting on February 25th, 2023, we created a Psychobiography Reading Group. At that first meeting, we discussed Jim Anderson’s chapter, “Winnicott’s Constant Search for the Life that Feels Real,” from The Winnicott Tradition: Lines of Development — Evolution of Theory and Practice over the Decades (edited by  M. B. Spelman & F. Thomson-Salo).

On April 1st, 2023, we met for the second time to discuss Erik Erikson’s Gandhi’s Truth, and we continue with Erikson’s Young Man Luther on June 3rd. The group is scheduled to meet on alternate months from 11 am to 1 pm (EDT—NYC time). The registration form can be found on PsychobiographyForum.com or PsychohistoryForum.com, and all participants must do the reading ahead of time, even if they’ve read the selection years ago.

We hope that you can write psychobiography for Clio’s Psyche. Many of our readers tell us that they find our publication to be a lively, compelling read that provides in-depth analyses. Please forward this Call for Papers to any colleagues (including associations or electronic mailing lists) who may be interested.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Paul Elovitz at cliospsycheeditor@gmail.com or Inna Rozentsvit at inna.rozentsvit@gmail.com.

Sincerely yours,

Paul, Claude-Hélène, Inna

Paul H. Elovitz, PhD, Historian, Research Psychoanalyst, Professor at Ramapo College, Editor, Clio’s Psyche and author The Making of Psychohistory: Origins, Controversies, and Pioneering Contributors (Routledge, 2018)  E-mail: cliospsycheeditor@gmail.com

Claude-Hélène Mayer, PhD, Professor in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at the University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa, some of her main research areas are psychobiography, women in leadership, and shame.  Email: claudemayer@gmx.net

Inna Rozentsvit, MD, PhD, Founder of NeuroRecovery Solutions, Inc., Founder & Editor-in-Chief & ORI Academic Press, MindConsiliums, and MindMend Publishing, Programs Director @ the Object Relations Institute, NYC.  E-mail: inna.rozentsvit@gmail.com