March 31, 2010

Narrative Scholars to Meet in Cleveland for 25th Annual Conference

The world's experts on stories and storytelling in books, movies, songs and in our very minds and memories, will gather in Cleveland to examine and discuss what keeps us hanging on every word.

More than 350 scholars from 19 countries and 5 continents will meet for the 25th anniversary convention of the International Society for the Study of Narrative. The meeting is organized by Case Western Reserve University's English Department and its Center for the Study of Writing, and directed by CWRU English Professor Kurt Koenigsberger.

Events will take place at the Renaissance Hotel, on the CWRU campus, and at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Some are free and open to the public.

Included on the program are studies of major literary works (novels by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Toni Morrison), the films of Hitchcock and other major directors, and stories related in the Bible and other ancient or sacred texts. Recent and popular narrative forms are also well represented: science fiction, Warren Zevon's music, Superman comics, Harry Potter, "Sex in the City, . . . "

The narrative world extends well beyond art and entertainment. Also on the program are examinations of how doctors and patients tell stories of illness and recovery, why we have become so fascinated by memoirs, how story-telling works in oral cultures, and how stories shape us as citizens and selves.

Among the CWRU presenters will be Nicole Emmelhainz on science fiction, William Marling on African child soldiers, Brad Ricca on Superman's origins, Mark Pedretti on Robert Lowell, Per Aage Brandt on cognition, Penny Tucker on autobiography, Susan Dominguez and Bryan Conn on Native American stories, and Peter Whitehouse, Mark Bassett, and Eric Chilton on ecological awareness.

As part of the conference CWRU faculty member Erika Olbricht will lead a tour of downtown Cleveland's memorials and historic places to show how places connect to stories of the past.

The conference coincides with CWRU's annual Writing Week, which includes several events open to the public.

The conference is supported by CWRU's College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English, the Center for the Study of Writing, the Center for Culture and Cognition, the Department of Music, the Program in Women's and Gender Studies, the Gender and Sexuality in Medicine Working Group and the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities. Conference partners include the Cleveland Cinematheque, the Dittrick Medical History Center, and the Allen Memorial Medical Library.

A free, public talk will be given by Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D., on Friday, April 9, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., in Ford Auditorium of the Allen Memorial Library on the CWRU campus, 11000 Euclid Ave. Her topic is "The Novelization of the Body (Nests, Shells, and Scars) or, How Medicine and Stories Need One Another." She is professor of clinical medicine and director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. The lecture is supported by the Edward S. and Melinda Melton Sadar Fund for lectures in disciplinary writing, and is part of the University's Writing Week activities.

For more information, go online or call the CWRU English Department at 368-2340.

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, March 31, 2010 11:43 AM | News Topics: Arts & Entertainment, College of Arts and Sciences, Events, Faculty, news

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