CFP: Narrative Matters 2014

Narrative Matters 2014 - Narrative Knowing, University of Paris Diderot, 23-27 June, 2014

Narrative Matters 2014, the 7th Narrative Matters conference, will be held from 23rd June to 27th June 2014 at the University of Paris Diderot and the American University of Paris. The conference will address the theme of Narrative Knowing/Récit et Savoir.

This conference will bring together scholars of all disciplines — psychology, psychoanalysis, sociology, anthropology, history, philosophy, linguistics, literary studies, feminist and gender studies, education, medicine/healthcare, social work, biology, law, theology, computer science, visual studies, etc. — to reflect on the issue of the, sometimes, contested epistemic powers of narrative.

- What relations are there between narrative and knowledge?
- How do forms of knowledge inform and produce narratives?
- How do narratives communicate or produce knowledge? Which ones?
- What is the nature of narrative knowledge as opposed to other forms of knowledge (common or spontaneous knowledge of reality, scientific knowledge, philosophical “wisdom”, etc.)?
- Does narrative constitute a privileged mode of knowledge or is it an epistemologically opaque means of pursuing the truth?

Proposals for papers or panels are invited for submission before 15th November 2013.

Potential themes include but are not limited to:

  • Narrative knowing. What is the role of narrative form in the production of knowledge? Is narrative a way of thinking, accounting for human affairs, opposed to logical reasoning, describing the natural world?
  • Narrative analysis. How does gathering and interpreting narrative data generate knowledge in the social sciences (social relations, human development and aging, mental health, learning, organizations, politics, etc.)?
  • Scientific narratives. What is the role of narratives in constructing forms of scientific knowledge and in learning from them? What is the relation between narrative discourse and scientific discourse?
  • Narrative medicine. How does narrative participate in the construction and transmission of medical knowledge, the understanding of illness and the application of medical knowledge in research, the doctor’s office and public health?
  • Narrative and the media. What is the place of narrative in the media (cinema 3D, “High Frame Rate”, interactive video games, social media, journalism) and the kinds of knowledge created and transmitted by audiovisual, digital and other media?
  • Narrative and social reality. How do narratives imagine the past, collective identity and collective memory? Is historical writing a science or storytelling? How do stories challenge ways of knowing, in counter-memories or revisionism?
  • Narrative and epistemology. What kind of object of knowledge is narrative (e.g., in narrative theory, education sciences, etc.)? Is narrative a means of knowledge, mediating knowing? How can narrative operate as obstacle to knowledge, refusing knowledge by denying narrative?
  • Narrative and fiction. How do different forms of narration challenge the borders between fiction and non-fiction (autofiction, literary journalism, novelistic biographies or autobiographies, historical novels)? Can the narrative point of view be a way of knowing in fiction and non-fiction?
  • Narrative representation. How is knowledge in fictional literary narrative configured and represented? What can literature bring to our understanding of society and social relationships?

The “connaissance de l’écrivain” (“writer’s knowledge”, Jacques Bouveresse). What are the epistemic benefits of reading literary narrative?

We will accept both empirical and theoretical contributions. All methods and approaches are welcome. Proposals can be in English or in French. Some of the proposals will be selected for publication.

More Information: Narrative Matters 2014 Website

15 Storytelling Quotes

“Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.”
—Hannah Arendt

“Artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I created a lie. But because you believed it, you found something true about yourself.”
― Alan Moore

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
—Erin Morgenstern

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”
― Sue Monk Kidd

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”
― Brandon Sanderson

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”
—Robert McKee

“The telling and hearing of stories is a bonding ritual that breaks through illusions of separateness and activates a deep sense of our collective interdependence.”
― Annette Simmons

“Storytellers don’t show, they tell. I’m sticking with that.”
― Ashly Lorenzana

“Whoever tells the best story shapes the culture.”
― Erwin Raphael McManus

“There is no society that does not highly value fictional storytelling. Ever.”
― Orson Scott Card

“Humans are pattern-seeking story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not.”
― Michael Shermer

“It would seem that the more irresponsible and crafty one is, the more likely one is to have a talent for storytelling.”
― Osamu Dazai

“Storytellers have as profound a purpose as any who are charged to guide and transform human lives. I knew it as an ancient discipline and vocation to which everyone is called.”
― Nancy Mellon

“Artists should always think of themselves as cosmic instruments for storytelling.”
—Ted Lange

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all.”
—Hans Christian Andersen

5 Tips on How to Tell a Story

1. Just Tell It

The best way to get good at telling stories is to tell a lot of stories. Find new audiences and tell a tale every chance you get. Practice the main thing that improves a person’s storytelling skills.

2. Repetition

Authors edit by rereading and rewriting. Storytellers refine their tales by speaking them over and over. Like polishing a piece of silver, stories get more and more beautiful with every telling.

3. Like the Story

Nobody likes doing work they don’t like to do and storytelling is no different. If you don’t dig a particular story, don’t tell it. If you’re in a bind and have to tell an unloved tale for some reason, take the opportunity to experiment with changing the way in which you tell.

4. Live the Story

If possible, live the tale a little. If the main character crossed a river by hopping on rocks, try doing that yourself. If they held a sword, hold a sword. Obviously you won’t slay any dragons but feeling that sword in your hand will give you new insights into how to depict the action.

5. Listen While Telling

A good storyteller listens as they tell. Always notice and make a mental note of how people react during the different parts of your story. The parts that stand out in your mind positively you keep. The parts where you can’t recall anyone’s reaction need work.

Going On A Bear Hunt: A Fun Storytelling Game for Younger Kids

When I was a kid, someone came into our classroom and did, “Going On a Bear Hunt,” and I LOVED it! If you’ve got to keep a classroom full of very young kids engaged, this one will do it every time. Here’s how it works:

  1. Get all the kids to stand up and gather around you.
  2. Tell them you’re going to go on a bear hunt (or bear watching if you’re not into hunting) and ask them, “What should we bring with us?”
  3. The kids will start to offer up suggestions. Whatever they say, put it into your imaginary backpack. You’ll get suggestions such as lunch, a camera, and binoculars but you’ll also possibly get suggestions like a bazooka, an M-16, a bow and arrow, a tank, or a laser pistol. Since there’s no shooting in this Bear Hunt (because it would be dangerous with so many people around) just leave all that stuff at home.
  4. Once you feel the backpack is full with enough stuff, pretend to put it on while all the kids mimic you and put on their own imaginary backpacks. Then set out into the wild.
  5. This is where it gets really fun. By walking in place, everyone imagines traveling through whatever it is you describe on the way to find a bear. It could be something like, “We look both ways and cross the street. We enter the forest on a small path. The trees are tall and it’s a little dark. Slip between the pricker bushes without getting pricked, climb over a fallen tree, climb up a sheer rock ledge, wade across a flowing river (or leap from rock to rock without falling in the water), then through some really tall grass,” etc. Make sure you know the order of everything you’ve gone through because soon you’re going to need to recite it backwards. A good way to keep track of everything is to imagine a place where you grew up or some path that you actually walk so you can visualize it in your head. (Or you can learn the song.)
  6. If the kids packed lunch you can pretend to stop and eat, or do a little bird watching with your binoculars, etc.
  7. Finally, after building the anticipation while keeping an eye on the clock, you come upon a cave. Quietly sneak up and into the cave. Inside you will find a sleeping bear. Inevitably one of the kids will make a loud sound or a growling roar at which time you freak out and scream for everyone to run and follow you!
  8. Now, twice as fast as you arrived, you return back home being careful to follow the path you set out for everyone to begin with. So, for our example it’s running from the cave, through the tall grass, crossing the river, down the sheer rock, over the tree, slow down through the pricker bushes, out from under the dark trees, stopping to cross the street, and making it home safe and sound. Whew! The end.

Kids from preschool to first grade will enjoy this. After that they might find it a little too silly, even if they play along.

This is Why You Should Make Up Stories with Your Children

Get out into the real world and make up some crazy stories!

Kids love stories. While you can read them a book, watch a movie, or finger through an interactive tale on a tablet, kids also love it when you make one up. Children respond to your words by using their imagination. Storytelling is play and kids dig it when you play along with them.

If you’re old enough to recall the days before the Internet, then you grew up with television as the main form of constantly-on mass media. Except for changing the channel, television was something we sat and watched. Don’t let your child replace the TV by being something you watch.

Co-creating a story is normal for kids, but today’s children are born into a world where media-making is a daily activity. To them, video games, video, and the Internet are everything. They want to take part in the action and they want you to take part in it as well. So do!

It doesn’t matter if you can or can’t code a website, edit a video, or program an app. Young kids like to pretend, so make up stories with them all day long. Doing so teaches them more than how to use their imagination. It also imparts your morals, values, wisdom, and ideals.

Remember, if you don’t make up stories with your kids, someone else will.

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