Narrative Interactions: Stories, Identities and Voices

October 1-3, 2010, Estonia, Sagadi

Intensive graduate seminar cosponsored by the Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts (GSCSA) and Nordic Network of Narrative Studies (NNNS)

People use stories as a tool for thinking, orienting themselves in the world and coping with the tremendous increase of information in modern culture. New situations and new forms of communication often involve new challenges and strains: in response, people tend to develop new narrative and behavioral strategies to adapt themselves to constraints the situation puts on them or to test new opportunities it offers. The present seminar seeks to explore these strategies, particularly management of subjectivity (identity, voice) in fictional storytelling, online communication and the situation of illness.


Marina Grishakova (University of Tartu, Estonia).  Basic Concepts: Stories, Identities and Voices
This workshop introduces basic narratological concepts (story, voice, identity) used in the study of written and oral narratives and provides background knowledge for other modules. Students are expected to read and analyze excerpts from classical works on these concepts  (Bakhtin, Genette, Aczel, Lanser and others). 

Ruth Page (University of Leicester, UK).  Voices and Identities on the Web (Online Communities, Personal Blogs and Discussion Forums)
Emergent forms of social media (such as blogs, wikis, social networking sites) have enabled people to self-publish their life experiences and to connect with online audiences with unprecedented measure.  We will be looking at the ways in which the autobiographical story fragments found in these online contexts challenge canonical definitions of 'narrative', are shaped by their participatory discourse context and perform crucial identity and interpersonal work for their authors.

Jan Alber (University of Freiburg, Germany).  Unnatural Voices and Impossible Identities
This module seeks to familiarize students with the wide range of physically or logically impossible narrators and characters in fictional narratives. More specifically, we will look at speaking animals, 'omniscient' first-person narrators, and impossible characters, and, in a second step, explore their potential functions.

Lars-Christer Hydén (University of Linköping, Sweden). Voices of Illness and Disability
In my lecture I will give an overview of the research on illness and narrative, with a special emphasis on research about storytelling by persons having some kind of communicative disability.
Quite often illness narratives are thought of as stories about illness. A more difficult and maybe less studied area has to do with the ways diseases affect the ability to tell stories, as for instance in patients with brain injuries or Alzheimer’s disease. In these cases the disease affects both cognitive and linguistic abilities making it difficult to tell stories that adhere to the conventional narrative norms.

About us

ENN is the European Narratology Network, an association of individual narratologists and narratological institutions. ENN aims to foster the study of narrative representation in literature, film, digital media, etc. across all European languages and cultures.