April 9 & 10, 2019
Tuesday, April 9 – Dewey Bozella, Keynote Speaker
Wednesday, April 10 – Campus & Community panels and presentations all day (free and open to the public)
The Power & Problematics of Narrative
Salman Rushdie writes “Man is the Storytelling Animal, and that in stories are his identity, his meaning, and his lifeblood.” Narrative takes many forms. Frank Kermode identifies the simplest of stories to be the sound of a clock: tick tock – language that establishes two events in sequence, in human terms. We can also consider the importance of witness testimony, medical histories, and case studies: types of narrative that underlie our attempts to establish objective facts. Narrative in literature is central to our understanding of humanity, from the epics of Homer to the novels of Toni Morrison.
As humans, we have an intrinsic understanding of narrative, perceiving both a sequence of events, but also the way those events result in some sort of transformation. We understand that a satisfying story is about much more than what is told, but how it is told. We understand the presentation of the story, but also the discourse of the story.
As a topic for the Academic Symposium, “The Power & Problematics of Narrative” provides rich ground for all areas of the university to engage. Narrative and narrative theory asks important questions, including:
- Who speaks? Whose is the “I” whose subjectivity is central?
- Who hears? Who is the audience for the narrative?
- Whose version of events is heard & takes precedence? Who has authority?
The implications of narrative are necessarily mapped onto fallible and human voices, overlaid on our cultural structures of power, disseminated by our technologies of reproduction and transmission, problematized by our ongoing conversations around identity and power and politics.
There are times in life when it is easier, or even more sensible, to just give up. This isn’t a belief held by 2011 Arthur Ashe Courage Award winner Dewey Bozella. The 2011 ESPY Awards celebrated the courage and conviction that led Bozella to the ultimate path of freedom after being released from Sing Sing prison in 2009 following a lengthy 26 years of wrongful imprisonment. Today, Bozella devotes his life to helping others, working with a non-profit that helps recently released prisoners rehabilitate back into the world. He has also returned to boxing as a trainer for kids and aspiring fighters.
For more information about Marian’s Academic Symposium, contact Christina Kubasta, Associate Professor of English at firstname.lastname@example.org