Humanities Institute

Bridging Disciplines: Spring 2019 Faculty Fellows' Research on Narrative

Thu, June 13, 2019
Bridging Disciplines: Spring 2019 Faculty Fellows' Research on Narrative
Spring 2019 Faculty Fellows with visiting lecturer, Dr. Emily Greenwood, and guests

In Spring 2019, faculty members from 13 departments across the university met for weekly Faculty Fellow seminars on the theme of "Narrative Across the Disciplines."Over the past few decades a number of academic and professional fields, both within and outside the traditional humanities, have come to recognize the central role that narrative—stories and storytelling, broadly conceived—plays in their respective areas of research and practice. Such fields include, in addition to the traditional humanities, medicine, law, cognitive science, sociology, communication, and economics. At the same time, scholars in disciplines such as literature, history, and cultural anthropology continue to develop nuanced approaches to exploring both the inner workings and the social functions of stories in multiple contexts. Some of the questions that the Faculty Fellows set out to address in their weekly seminar include: what forms of inquiry and insight does a focus on narrative make available, and what additional possibilities remain to be explored? Conversely, what facets of the world might be occluded by approaches that privilege narrative? How have new technologies affected the structure, performance, and reception of narrative? How is narrative related to the pursuit of social justice?

As the Spring Faculty Fellows pursued their inquiry on the seminar's broader theme, several topics that connected their research across disciplines emerged. For instance, Dr. David Ring(Surgery and Perioperative Care, DMS) and Dr. Carrie Barron (Psychiatry, Dell Medical School) both showed the therapeutic potential of narrative as did Dr. Lauren Gutterman (American Studies, College of Liberal Arts). How relationships interact with narrative was also the subject of Ring's and Barron's work and was further investigated by Dr. Ann Reynolds (Art and Art History, College of Fine Arts). Dr. Suzanne Scott (Radio-Television-Film, Moody College of Communication), Dr. Youjeong Oh (Asian Studies, COLA), and Dr. Jonathan Kaplan (Middle Eastern Studies, COLA) all looked at the circulation of narrative across genres and media platforms. Dr. Kaplan also examined the topic of narrative and tradition as did Dr. Ayelet Haimson-Lushkov (Classics, COLA). Professor Charles Anderson (Dance and African Diaspora Dance, COFA), Dr. Suzanne Seriff (Anthropology, COLA), and Dr. Oh all presented on visual and kinetic storytelling. Along with Dr. Haimson-Lushkov, Dr. Scott Stroud (Communication Studies, Moody) explored the issue of narrative as argumentation. Dr. Gabriela Polit (Spanish & Portuguese, COLA), Dr. Juan Colomina-Almiñana (Mexican American and Latino/a Studies, COLA), and Dr. Gutterman took on the analysis of narratives of suffering and abuse. Finally, a number of Fellows - Professors Anderson, Polit, Seriff, Gutterman, and Kaplan - examined the topic of narrative and social justice. This topic was explored further through the Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series on "Narrative and Social Justice", with guest seminars led by Dr. Emily Greenwood (Classics, Yale University) and Dr. Doris Sommer (Romance Languages & Literatures and of African & African American Studies, Harvard University). We look forward to continuing and expand upon these themes with the Fall Faculty Fellows next semester. The results of the Spring 2019 and Fall 2019 seminars will be presented in a Colloquium in Spring 2020.

For more information about the 2018-2019 Faculty Fellows Seminar, please visit the Humanities Institute’s website and the 2018-2020 Faculty Fellows page.

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