CFP Conferences

CFP: JNT special issue “Historicizing Narrative Theory” – July 15, 2011

The Journal of Narrative Theory (JNT) seeks submissions for an upcoming special issue, “Historicizing Narrative Theory.”

Essays (max. 10,000 words) should address themselves to the relationship(s) of contemporary narrative theory to ethnic and/or postcolonial studies, and may examine both literary and cultural texts (visual and digital mediums, music, ethnographies, tourism guides, etc).

Structuralist, or classical, narrative theory – in the vein of Roland Barthes, Gerard Genette, and Tzvetan Todorov – sought to articulate a taxonomy of narrative, taking as its principle examples canonical texts of European and American literature, e.g. Genette on Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. While feminist narrative theorists, such as Susan Lanser and Robyn Warhol, have demonstrated that gender and sexuality are constitutive considerations of texts, rather than simply extra-formal considerations, similar theoretical engagements with narrative theory in terms of race, capital, imperialism, and class still need to take place. Narrative theory remains only partly decolonized despite the increasing globalization of the contemporary novel, in form and content as well as production, distribution, and consumption. We know that race, nation, and class matter to literary form, but how and why do we account for it in narrative theory? And how does narrative theory have to change/reconsider itself in order to truly decolonize?

What would a “postcolonial” or “marxist” narratology look like? Is an “ethnic,” “postcolonial,” or “marxist” narrative theory even possible or desirable? What are the dangers/pitfalls of ghettoization and/or co-optation in engaging classical narrative theory? What kinds of questions does narrative theory need to ask in order to be historicized? For example, Dan Shen, Ming Dong Gu, and others have sought to articulate Chinese narrative theory that takes into account both specific Chinese aesthetic and cultural histories as well as considers mutual artistic and theoretical influences with the West. In his work on Latino comics and postcolonial writing, Frederick Luis Aldama argues for the universality of not only the narrative tools available to writers and graphic novelists, but also the very cognitive processes that inform our subjectivity and creativity. Michael McKeon’s 2000 anthology, Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach, treats narrative historically but focuses only on fiction and includes only three essays on postcolonial writing.

We are looking for essays that engage with the limitations/possibilities of current narrative theory(s), either through explicit theoretical engagement with narrative theory and/or the practice/revisiting of it through innovative interpretations of texts.

Information about the journal can be found at the following address:

Contributors should follow the MLA style (7th edition), with footnotes kept at a minimum and incorporated into the text where possible.

Please send a copy of the submission by email attachment to each of the editors – Sue J. Kim ( and Priyamvada Gopal ( – by July 15, 2011.