Call for Papers: "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Narratives: Getting Lost in Texts"

full name / name of organization: 
University of Idaho - English Department
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University of Idaho: March 28, 2015

The term "narrative" refers to a particular rhetorical mode that conveys information by constructing a plot, either in written, oral, or visual form. Via this conference, we are interested in exploring how narratives are used and understood differently across a wide variety of academic disciplines, including the sciences, literary studies, anthropology, sociology, and history. For example, a historian and a biologist might read and use narratives in different ways in their work, while scientists tend to employ different tropes and structures in the narratives that describe their research than do authors of literary novels. Indeed, we view the narrative as a rich site of interdisciplinarity that illuminates similarities and differences between academic fields of study. For this reason, we want to explore questions on narratives in an interdisciplinary context that allows us to discuss why there are differences across the disciplines, how these changes have occurred, and how a study of narrative can aid cross-discipline discussion. Explicitly, how does a fictional narrative differ from a text written in the field of history that describes actual events and developments? How do filmmakers play with the structure of the narrative when engaging readers, for example, through flashbacks and flashforwards and how does this differ from the straightforward narrative that anthropologists tend to use when describing other cultures? And how are we as readers able to understand and grasp the information from narratives of different scholarly fields, from psychology to medicine?

With this conference we seek to represent numerous perspectives on these ideas and create a discussion about the interdisciplinary character of narratives. Possible topics could include:
• Contemporary Literary Theory: recent developments in narrative theory and analysis of the narrative structure in individual literary texts; the role of narrative in other theoretical schools of thought such as ecocriticism, postcolonialism, and psychoanalysis
• Science Narrative: translating research into narratives
• Medical Narrative: the use of narrative in health care
• Composition and Pedagogy: how to engage students through narrative
• Creative Writing: creating a narrative and crossing generic boundaries
• History: presenting the past through narrative
• Anthropology: describing foreign customs and cultures via narrative
• Psychology: the cognitive science of reading narratives
• Media and Film Studies: what is a visual narrative and how does it differ from a written one?


The Graduate Students in the Department of English at the University of Idaho invite submissions for a conference focusing on interdisciplinary interpretations on narratives. The conference will take place on Saturday, March 28th, 2015, on campus in Moscow, Idaho.
Moscow, Idaho, is a city in Northern Idaho, situated along the Washington/Idaho border. Major road connections are US 95 (north-south) and Highway 8 (east-west) which are routed through central Moscow. The city is also serviced by the Pullman/Moscow Regional Airport (PUW), which is approximately five miles from the University of Idaho and offers three daily flights from Seattle, Washington, each day (SEA).

Please email your proposal, including a 250-word abstract (with title) and contact information, to Megan Tribley or Vanessa Schmolke, University of Idaho,, by December 14, 2014. Further information on deadlines and events can be found on our Facebook site: