Hunter Graduate Student Conference: "Storytellers: Crafting, Testifying, Fibbing" May 11-12, 2012

full name / name of organization: 
Graduate English Club of Hunter College
contact email: 
HunterGEC@gmail.com

All of us are natural storytellers. Whether fictional, non-fictional, biographical, or autobiographical, the narratives we weave throughout our lives relate us to each other, to our collective histories, and to our notions of personal identity. Yet the methods and structures of storytelling are as varied and unique as the individual storytellers themselves. Who is behind the text, or within the text, and how do we come to understand the motivations and objectives of storytelling?

This conference seeks to interrogate the figure of the storyteller in literature, and what that figure contributes to the overall structure of the work, especially with regard to testifying and fibbing. What gives a storyteller believability, power, and authority? What are the power structures embedded in the act of storytelling? What does it mean if a storyteller is inaccurate or untruthful? What is the relationship between storytelling and experience, or between storytelling and history? How do we come to know the politics of storytelling through the figure of the storyteller, and how can we build a critical consciousness around the knowledge structures of stories and the storytelling process?

We welcome papers that explore the nature of the storyteller in general and specific ways. Possible topics to examine include (but are not limited to):

• How the storyteller engages personal and/or collective memory
• The power structures embedded in acts of storytelling
• The histories of different kinds of storytellers and the ways in which they gain legitimacy, authenticity or popularity
• The relationship between storytelling and historical record
• Ideas about the nature of truth, and the concept of fibbing
• Notions of testimony, as well as cultural or historical witness
• Storytelling as identity formation
• Ideas of gender politics through the figure of the storyteller
• Culturally-specific historical storytelling, including fables and myths
• Storytellers in the digital age and ways in which digital media allow the storyteller to craft identity
• The storyteller’s psychological relationship to fear, trauma, and imagination
• How translation complicates the authorial relationship and/or the storyteller’s relationship within or outside of the story
• The privileging and/or silencing of stories and the voices who tell them

Please submit abstracts of 150-250 words to HunterGEC@gmail.com by Thursday, March 1, 2012. All proposals should include your name, affiliation, contact information (including email address), and a short bio. Please also include a title to your paper. Proposals sent in by graduate students will be given priority, however, we will consider proposals from independent scholars and recent graduates. (Pre-organized panels of three to four related papers are also welcome. Please include all submitters’ information in one email.)

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