Past Institutes

Teaching and Understanding Autobiography

On October 29, 2015, Humanities Texas held a one-day workshop introducing strategies for teaching and understanding autobiography, memoir, and literary nonfiction at the secondary level.


At the workshop, faculty and participants examined writings by Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Sandra Cisneros, and Zora Neale Hurston, among others. The program emphasized close interaction with scholars and writers and the development of effective pedagogical strategies and engaging assignments and activities.

In their lectures and afternoon seminars, faculty placed special emphasis on teaching critical reading skills. Strategies and content aligned closely with the secondary-level English and language arts TEKS.


Workshop faculty included Evan Carton, Carol MacKay, and Elizabeth McCracken, all of The University of Texas at Austin, and John Phillip Santos of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Location and Schedule

The program took place at the Byrne-Reed House in Austin. The workshop overview details the schedule and participants.


The workshop was made possible with major funding from the State of Texas, with ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Questions about Teacher Institutes

Call 512.440.1991 or email

John Phillip Santos discusses an excerpt from his memoir Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation in an afternoon seminar.

Elizabeth McCracken, James A. Michener Chair in Creative Writing at The University of Texas at Austin, models an in-class writing exercise in her morning presentation.