Call for Panelists: "Narratives, Narrators and Restorying" Narrative Matters: May29-June 1 Paris

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American University of Paris
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Narrative Matters 2012: Life and Narrative
The American University of Paris
May 29 to June 1, 2012

Call for Papers:
Panel Name: "Narratives, Narrators and Restorying"

Elizabeth Stone, Professor of English, Communication and Media Studies, Fordham University, New York, NY 10023,
Leah Anderst, Visiting Instructor of Writing, Marymount Manhattan College, New York, NY 10021,

We are putting together a proposal for an interdisciplinary panel on the intersection between autobiography and narrative studies for the upcoming "Narrative Matters" conference in Paris in the summer of 2012. We are seeking one or two panelists working in a medium other than prose memoir or autobiographical documentary (for which we already have panelists). We are particularly interested in the critical scrutiny of narratives that replace actual or implied pre-existing autobiographical narratives, narratives where the narrator and narrative have a singular and evolving relationship, and works that highlight the process of creating autobiographical narratives. We welcome, for instance, work focused on the graphic memoir, photography, narrative painting, sculpture, and so on or on non-literary forms with an actual or implied narrative component (medical charts, CVs, news videos, social media, census data, transcripts, political counternarratives, etc).

Please send paper titles, abstracts of no more than 250 words, a short biographical statement of no more than 100 words, and contact information off-list to and by October 5th.

Additional Conference Information:

The American University of Paris, The University of Paris Diderot-Paris 7, and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative at St. Thomas University, invite scholars from all disciplines to reflect upon the productive interplay between life and narrative.

What is the relationship between life and narrative? As noted by Jerome Bruner in his article on "Life as Narrative" (1987), this is one of the central intellectual questions facing narrative inquiry and narrative practice across multiple disciplines – psychology, narrattology and literary theory, digital media, sociology, history, sociolinguistics, philosophy, medicine, education, gerontology, communications, social work, ethics, religious studies, etc. Indeed, there is broad agreement that narrative representations (from novels to histories, biographies, websites, films, museums) and life are essential to each other. Narrative draws upon life for inspiration to create an imagined world that has substance, color, texture, and meaning. Meanwhile, life draws upon narrative for resources to imagine our identity and to interpret others, situations, and the "real" world. Both are involved in an intricate exchange, playing off one another, informing and creating one another. However, the relationship between life and narrative – between experience and story - is not merely theoretical in nature but practical as well. Narrative has a profound impact on our understanding of what it means to be human; of the choices we make as persons; of the nature of health and wellness, teaching and learning; of the meaning of history; of how social groups work through conflict; and of how the cultural and political world is ordered.

Panels and papers

Scholars are invited to organize panel sessions and present papers on various aspects of the broad theme of "Life and Narrative."

Possible questions include:

What is the relationship between telling and living?
How can the narrative concept help us to better understand experience, interpretation and action?
What does literature teach us about aspects of life, experience, mind, and social relationships?
How can narrative research have a greater impact on the lives of real persons and institutions? How can narrative theory and practice better inform one another?
Can there be a "true" narrative? What are the boundaries between fact and fiction, between autobiography and autofiction?
How is identity storied, restoried, even de-storied across the lifespan?
What is the effect of the media (new and old) on identity?
What is the relationship between what is archived in individual memories and social institutions and the stories that we tell?

Confirmed Plenary speakers
Mark Freeman, College of The Holy Cross
Alexandra Georgakopoulou-Nunes, Kings College London¨
James Phelan, Ohio State University

Although the language of the conference will be in English, papers delivered in French are welcome. Scholars presenting papers in French are requested to bring a translated copy of their paper to the conference for distribution to the audience.¨

Preconference workshops will be organized, principally for graduate students and beginning scholars, along the following themes:
1. Translating narrative theory
2. Doing narrative inquiry
3. Digital narratives
4. Narrative and social change

An edited book will be published including the best submissions from the conference. If you would like your paper to be considered, please submit a complete draft no later than May 30, 2012.

Conference Website