Project Narrative's main mission is to promote state-of-the art research and teaching in the field of narrative studies. The Project focuses on narrative in all of its guises, from everyday storytelling in face-to-face interaction, to oral history and autobiography, to films, graphic novels, and narratives associated with digital environments, to the complex narratives found in modern and postmodern fiction and poetry, to narratives by authors whose ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, and/or sexual orientation position them to write against the grain of dominant cultural storylines. Further, Project Narrative highlights the importance of developing an integrative, interdisciplinary approach to narrative; faculty working under its auspices draw on multiple traditions of research—rhetorical and literary theory, ethics, cognitive science, linguistics, ethnic studies, feminist theory, queer theory, and comparative media studies—to analyze how narratives are told and interpreted.
Project Narrative pursues three major goals.
First, the core faculty work to pool their knowledge and interests to create new directions for narrative inquiry. Carrying out this part of the mission not only stimulates individual scholarly productivity but also leads to more opportunities for additional joint editing projects and collective scholarship. Project Narrative has become a locus for exposure to the latest developments in narrative theory, bringing many important and lesser-known narrative theorists to campus each year to lecture, participate in panel discussions, and present papers at conferences. Project Narrative faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars form an intellectual community where new work is fostered, challenged, and developed.
The second goal of the project is to establish a strong presence for narrative studies in the OSU curriculum. In addition to undergraduate courses and honors courses, each year the Department offers at least two graduate-level seminars in narrative and narrative theory. The Project also regularly sponsors gatherings of different kinds for affiliated graduate students (e.g., reading group sessions; work-in-progress sessions; informal sessions with visiting scholars), as well as formal workshops featuring prominent scholars from outside OSU that graduate students can use for course credits counting toward their degrees.
The third major goal is to build connections with faculty and graduate students in other units in the Department, in the College, and across the Arts and Sciences who also study narrative. Relevant units within the English Department include the Creative Writing Program, the Digital Media Project, and the Center for Folklore Studies. We collaborate with other faculty in English as well as other Departments including History, Comparative Studies, Linguistics, Anthropology, and Sociology,as well as in other programs such as Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies; the Diversity and Identity Studies Collective (DISCO); the Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER); and Popular Culture Studies, to name just a few in which the study of narrative plays an important role.
We are also collaborating with faculty and students at other institutions, both in the US and abroad. Project Narrative faculty and graduate students have a strong presence in the International Society for the Study of Narrative. At present core faculty members are active in scholarly networks linking OSU with institutions in China, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Denmark, and the UK.