Serial Narratives and Temporality

full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA Convention 2011, Rutgers University
contact email: 

This panel addresses the various relationships between seriality and temporality.
The serial principle has a important influence on contemporary culture: novels, movies and television shows, comic books, video games, etc. are published in series. Consequently, this principle largely informs contemporary ways of conceiving, producing and making sense of narratives in general. This panel wants to locate the importance of seriality within our present-day mediascape.
It is interesting to see that, while individual studies of mostly 19th-century serial novels and 20th-century television shows are available in large numbers, the phenomenon of serialization has rarely been acknowledged as a medial practice that informs contemporary culture as a whole. In approaching seriality as a general cultural paradigm, this panel will bring together contributions on serial practices in various media.
In order to create a comprehensive theoretical framework for the various serial practices, this panel will focus on the concept of temporality. Many series experiment with narrative time. The individual episodes/installments/posts allow for the most diverse temporal structures: continuous, constellatory, reverse or cyclical. Time stretching, acceleration as well as 'real time' are integral parts of recent narrative experiments. What can we learn from these experiments about the ways in which we conceive time and about how these notions are expressed in narrative?
Studying this field of experimentation necessitates a confluence of disciplines. This panel will indeed attempt to bring together three domains: the study of narrative, the philosophy of time and the field of cultural studies will provide a theoretical perspective that allows to elaborate the cultural importance of the temporal structures constructed in contemporary serial narratives.
By approaching a transmedial corpus from an interdisciplinary viewpoint, this panel aims at providing useful and original insights into the principle of seriality and the role it play in the various domains of cultural production.

We invite theoretical reflections as well as analyses of individual serial narratives (in literature, Television, comics, blogs, etc.). Please send 250-500 word abstracts and brief biographical statements to Toni Pape, Université de Montréal,