Event Series: Pandemic Storytelling


Interdisciplinary Event Series

Woman alone in a lecture hall brainstorming on a chart Copyright: © Martin Braun

Human beings use narratives and tell stories to make sense of experiences and of themselves. The meaning of narratives and their value for our everyday life is an aspect of storytelling that has been discussed extensively in different disciplines. Since scholars have already shown that creating narratives and telling stories of our experiences plays a role in talking about illnesses, the Aachen Center for Cognitive and Empirical Literary Studies (ACCELS) is initiating this interdisciplinary event series which investigates how storytelling shapes the current CoVid19 pandemic and by implication, how the pandemic shapes our way of telling stories.

To capture the relations between the current pandemic and storytelling as a narratological, psychological, medical and historical phenomenon, this event series includes viewpoints from different disciplines on pandemic storytelling. Therefore, world-renowned scholars from disciplines such as narratology, linguistics, cultural studies and literary studies, history, narrative medicine and illness narratives will use this event series to engage with us in an interdisciplinary discussion of the relations between pandemics and storytelling. For the investigation of the dynamics, we will have a closer look at the current pandemic, but also on earlier pandemics and how they have shaped discourses. We will also discuss why and how human beings use stories to share their experiences and how media shape the discourse and impact our perception.

The lectures and panel discussions will take place via Zoom once a month and will be opened for interested students and scholars to participate in discussions after the individual presentations/lectures.

The results of the individual panels and discussions will be collected in an edited volume in 2021.

Event series contributors are (in alphabetical order):

Pandemic Storytelling Schedule

12.11.2020, 7 pm CEST
Erica Charters (Faculty of History, University of Oxford) - How Epidemics End: Narratives and Disease
Rita Charon (Division of Narrative Medicine, Columbia University) - Black Lives Matter and COVID -The Doomed US

10.12.2020, 7 pm CET
Elena Semino (Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University) - Metaphors and Stories about CoVid-19
Jarmila Mildorf (Department of English and American Literature and Culture, Paderborn University) - Crisis and Creativity - Poetry in Times of Corona

14.01.2021, 7 pm CET
Stefan Iversen (Department for Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University): Kategoria and Corona: Accusations as Narrative Rhetoric
Hanna Meretoja (Department of Comparative Literature, University of Turku): Pandemic Storytelling and Agency

11.02.2021, 7 pm CET
Mark Freeman (Psychology Department, College of the Holy Cross): A Pandemic of Pain: The Dead End of Delusional Storytelling.
Molly Andrews (Department of Social Sciences, University of East London): Reimagining Our Lives in Pandemic Times

11.03.2021, 7 pm CET
Christoph Singer (Department of English and American Literature and Culture, Paderborn University) - Pandemic Temporalities and Narratives of Existential Waiting
Birgit Neumann (English Department, Heinrich-Heine University Dusseldorf)

15.04.2021, 7 pm CEST
Christoph Ernst , Jens Schröter (Department of Media Studies, Bonn University) - Data Visualizations and Narrative Strategies in Social Imaginaries of the Corona Pandemic​
Monika Pietrzak-Franger (Department of English and American Studies, University of Vienna)

May 2021, 7 pm CEST​
Ansgar Nünning (Department of English and American Literature and Culture, Justus-Liebig-University Gießen) and Vera Nünning (English Department, University of Heidelberg)
Jim Phelan (Department of English, Ohio State University) - Donald J. Trump and the Genre of Nonfiction Political Narrative, May 12—June 7, 2020

10.06.2021, 7 p.m. CEST
Marina Grishakova (Professor, Institute of Cultural Research, University of Tartu)
Anneke Sools (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Health and Technology, University of Twente
and the Research Group on Narrative, Culture, and Cognition at the University of Tartu, Estonia

If you are interested in listening to the discussions, please send us an e-mail to accels@rwth-aachen.de and you will receive the link needed to attend the Zoom-conference.


Contact & Zoom-Link

Deborah de Muijnck, M.A.
Jessica Jumpertz, M.A.

If you'd like to participate in one or several of the upcoming events on Pandemic Storytelling, feel free to drop us a note. We will happily provide you with the Zoom-Link in time.