Mind – Media – Narrative: Exploring the Nexus of Transmedial and Cognitive Narratologies
University of Warsaw (Poland)
20-22 June 2016
Narrative is a universal phenomenon that shapes virtually every aspect of human life. Narrative exists across time, culture – from the cave narratives of Lascaux, to the hypertext narratives of contemporary cyberspace. And together with the proliferation of narrative forms, there are also the myriad ways of understanding and defining them. Consequently, narrative can be understood as the ‘representation of at least two real or fictive events’ (Gerald Prince), as the ‘method of recapitulating past experience’ (William Labov), as ‘the play of suspense/curiosity/surprise between represented and communicative time’ (Meir Sternberg), and a host of other theoretical and rhetorical formulations.
As suggested in the conference title, ‘Mind – Media – Narrative’, the purpose of this conference is to provide a forum for the discussion of narrative – especially narrative in the context of what Marie-Laure Ryan defines as: ‘a mental construct, which can be activated by different types of signs’. Defined in this way, narrative is both a mental and textual entity and its final shape relies on the specificity of applied media, affordances and limitations, and human cognitive mechanisms. Accordingly, when researching narrative, it is important to account for both its medium-independent and medium-specific aspects. Medium-independent aspects include event sequencing, causality, temporality, but also the role of affect in the function of characters, the motivation of narrative events, and the engagement of the reader/viewer/participant in the narrative. Conversely, an investigation of medium-specific aspects places emphasis upon the techniques and qualities specific to particular media, such as the representation of characters’ speech through dialogue balloons in comics, or the techniques involved in the gestural languages of drama and dance. Also significant is a consideration of the relations between the different forms, modes, and methods of narrative, including remediation, parodic revision, and the shared properties and artistic techniques used in and across various media (including interactivity).
Discussions at this conference will involve consideration of cognitive models and theories that enable an understanding of the processes of creating and perceiving narrative: both ‘classical’ (e.g., through mental schemata or reader inference) and ‘contemporary’ (e.g., involving the role of embodied cognition, theory of mind, the concept of experientiality). Simultaneously, this conference is also open to questioning the influence of media on the shape of narrative; e.g., how do media which are rarely associated with storytelling, such as architecture or music, influence the creation of narrative when they become its vehicles? And further, what new narrative affordances do digital media bring to their users? Do they change the way narratives are mentally (and bodily) constructed?
Defining narrative as both a textual and cognitive construct prompts researchers to think about the nexus of mind and media in the creation of stories. Consequently, the proposed approach compels narratologists, media specialists and cognitive psychologists to work together to better understand the dynamics of creating storyworlds. During the conference we would like to create such an interdisciplinary space for sharing ideas, hypotheses and doubts.
We invite contributions from researchers (at all stages of their careers) interested in cognitive and/or transmedial narratology. Contributions may be theoretical as well as analytical. Proposals may address, but are not limited to:
- narrative in various media (from literature, comic books and video games, to architecture and music): differences, similarities, methodologies of analysis
- narrative affordances and limitations of different modalities (verbal, visual, gestural, spatial), narrative and interactive media
- the role of bodily and affective engagement in the creation and understanding of narratives
- theoretical foundations of transmedial and cognitive narratology
- psychological and cognitive approaches to narrative
- narrative categories and techniques, and their presence in various media
- intermedial translation and its role in the creation of narratives
- construction of transmedial storyworlds across multiple media platforms
- narratology in light of new schools of thought and fields emerging within the contemporary humanities (performance studies, theory of affect, object oriented philosophy, digital humanities, empirical literary and media studies etc.)
Confirmed plenary speakers:
Prof. David Miall
Department of English and Film Studies
University of Alberta
Prof. Magdalena Rembowska-Płuciennik
The Institute of Literary Research
Polish Academy of Sciences
Dr Jan-Noël Thon
Institute of Media Studies
University of Tübingen
We will be accepting submissions for both individual papers and pre-formed panels. For individual papers please send 500-word proposals (as a Word or PDF file attachment) to email@example.com by the 15th of March, 2016. For pre-formed panels, please submit individual abstracts as well as a 500-word summary paragraph describing the concept of the proposed panel.
Conference fee (covering refreshments, lunches, and a part of publication expenses) is 350 PLN or 90 euro. Details concerning payment will be provided later.