2008 International Conference on Narrative
Posted: June 10, 2008
In early May the Department of English hosted the 23rd Annual International Conference on Narrative. Sponsored annually by the International Society for the Study of Narrative, the “Narrative Conference” (as it is commonly known) is an interdisciplinary forum addressing all aspects of narrative in any genre, period, nationality, and medium.
The 2008 Conference brought over 450 participants from 17 countries—Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the U.K., and the U.S.—to the Hyatt Regency on Lady Bird Lake.
The Program included papers representing a wide range of academic disciplines—Art History, Cognitive Science, Film Studies, Legal Studies, Linguistics, Medical Ethics, Musicology, Performance Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, among many others—and gave rise to a spirited set of discussions about the place of narrative in the academy. Of particular note were three excellent plenary addresses by Scott McCloud (author of Understanding Comics), Marianne Hirsch (Columbia University), and Frederick Luis Aldama (The Ohio State University).
In addition to presenting research and attending panels, conferees took full advantage of springtime in Austin. Over four gorgeous days they explored “The Live Music Capital of the World,” ate Texas barbeque by the ton, ran along the lake, and enjoyed nightcaps and jazz on the 17th Floor of the Hyatt.
In all, the conference, which was organized by Professors Susan Sage Heinzelman, Coleman Hutchison, Martin Kevorkian, and Adam Zachary Newton and staffed by a number of graduate student volunteers, was an unqualified success. Several Narrative Conference veterans have described the 2008 conference as being “one of the best to date.”