Project Narrative Summer Institute
The Project Narrative Summer Institute (PNSI) is a two-week program on the Ohio State University campus that offers faculty and advanced graduate students in any discipline the opportunity for an intensive study of core concepts and issues in narrative theory. The focus for summer 2013 will be Narrative Theory for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Brian McHale and Amy Shuman will direct the 2013 Institute, which will run from Monday, June 3rd to Friday, June 14th.
Application Process and Deadline
The deadline for applications is Friday, March 29, 2013. A complete application consists of three items: (1) a current curriculum vitae (with up-to-date contact information); (2) a personal statement of no more than 1200 words explaining how your participationin PNSI will enhance your teaching and/or research; and (3) one letter of recommendation. These materials should be sent via e-mail to Professors McHale (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Shuman (email@example.com). They will inform all applicants about their admissions decisions by April 15, 2013.
Fees and Housing
The cost of the 2013 Project Narrative Institute is $1,500. This fee does not include housing. The Institute will reserve a block of reasonably priced rooms (approximately $110 per night) in nearby bed-and-breakfast places, and we will help with other housing options.
Structure of the Summer Institute
This year's Summer Institute will explore the fundamental elements of narrative from literary and genre fiction to the folktale to everyday narrative, with application to narratives from all disciplinary perspectives across the humanities and social sciences.
Our survey of the "classical" narrative theories of Vladimir Propp, Gérard Genette, A.J. Greimas, M.M. Bakhtin, William Labov and others will provide faculty and advanced graduate students with fundamental tools useful for all aspects of narrative research, in all disciplines. We will especially focus on approaches from literature, linguistics, anthropology, and folklore. In addition to in-depth discussion of seminal narrative theorists, students will have the opportunity to do their own analyses of folk tales, conversational narratives, a film, and short works of literature. Each participant will bring to the Institute a project to develop over the course of the two weeks, e.g., a lesson plan or course syllabus, the draft of a research proposal or dissertation chapter, the outline of a journal article or conference paper. The Institute will culminate with a workshop discussion of each student's research project.
The Institute will comprise four units: Story; Conversational Narrative; Discourse (Position); and Storyworld (Space-Time). Beginning with Propp's structural account of the folk tale, which paved the way for the analysis of more complex literary texts and later on spawned deconstructive, postmodernist critiques of the structural model, we will experiment with structural analyses of folk tales and popular-culture narratives, including cinematic narrative. Next we turn from the folk tale to stories pervasive in everyday life. Narrative studies typically privilege either literary narrative or the narratives that figure in conversations, institutional settings, and dramatic life changes. This Institute combines both approaches, putting them in dialogue with each other. Toward that end we will examine the classic essay by William Labov that serves as the foundation of any study of conversational narrative, and will experiment with applying Labov's method to everyday narratives that we collect ourselves.
In week two, we will continue to pursue the dialogue between literary narratology and the analysis of conversational narrative, placing the literary concept of focalization in conversation with recent sociolinguistic work on narrative positioning. We will conclude by investigating the spatial and temporal dimensions of narrative worlds, experimenting with the "cognitive mapping" of literary works, exploring Genette's classic account of narrative temporality in Narrative Discourse, and wrapping up with Bakhtin's powerful concept of the chronotope, where space and time meet.
In the brief span of two weeks, we will have the opportunity to explore a range of texts in a variety of genres: short stories by Joyce, Barthelme and Ian Fleming; a short novel (Márquez's Chronicle of a Death Foretold); an excerpt from a long novel (Proust's In Search of Lost Time); a graphic narrative (Bechdel's Fun Home); a film (probably John Ford's The Searchers); and conversational narratives and folk tales.