Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds
May 21st and 22nd 2013
Call for Papers (abstract deadline January 31st, 2013)
Keynote speakers: Marie-Laure Ryan (author of Possible Worlds, Artificial Intelligence and Narrative Theory , Narrative as Virtual Reality  and Avatars of Story ; editor of Cyberspace Textuality  and Narrative across Media )and Jarmila Mildorf (author of Storying Domestic Violence ; editor
of Magic, Science, Technology, and Literature  and Imaginary
Dialogues in English ).
The postclassical turn in narratology has led to 1) a new emphasis on minds, both fictional and interpretative, and 2) the theoretical discovery of storyworlds. These ideas come together in cognitive-theoretically informed narratology, which is well on its way to getting to grips with the processes of immersion and readerly orientation within the storyworld, and also with perceptual positioning on the levels of storyworld, narration and the actual reading process. This conference discusses, applies and tests narratological theories of world and mind construction in different media, ranging from literature to digital games, classroom interaction and corporate communication.
The conference calls for papers from any relevant field of study addressing interfaces of minds and worlds, narrative as well as virtual. Bringing together research on different narrative and quasi-narrative media will reveal both the medium-specific and the transmedial dynamics between inner and outer worlds in narrative sense-making. For instance, the narratological notions of fictional mind construction have lately been informed by theories of spatial and temporal situatedness and its effect on the reading process. The situation of game players immersed in a virtual world involves both interesting similarities with as well as differences to more prototypically narrative environments, particularly in its prioritisation of navigation and problem-solving over empathetic identification. Furthermore, the use of shared storyworlds as foundations for transmedial franchises suggests that worlds may, indeed, be translatable.
This conference is inspired by interdisciplinary and transmedial studies of narrative as pursued by, among others, our keynote speakers Jarmila Mildorf and Marie-Laure Ryan. We welcome papers discussing general and theoretical issues, as well as papers focusing on particular texts or cases in any medium. Furthermore, papers may address medium-specificity or disciplinary boundaries as interpretative or methodological challenges.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to
o medial and intermedial construction of minds and worlds in literature and the everyday
o adapting storyworlds from one medium to another
o socially distributed minds in everyday conversation, narration and life stories
o the role of fiction and narration in digital games
o misreading virtual minds in fiction
o fictional worlds in picture books and graphic novels
o virtual worlds and fictional minds as tools for teaching
o game worlds between real action and imaginary spaces
o narrative and ludic agency in game playing
o narrative, material and visual dimensions of organisational sense-making
o ‘Theories of Mind’ in different media
o attributing minds and representing worlds in historical narratives
o exceptional minds and bodies in fiction and the everyday
o dream narratives as virtual worlds
o narrative embodiment in illness narratives
o the function of stories in marketing and brand development
Please send a 250-word abstract to Mari Hatavara by January 31st 2013. Be sure to give the title, author(s), affiliation(s), and e-mail address in the same document.
The conference is organised by: Mari Hatavara, professor of Finnish literature at the University of Tampere School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies; Matti Hyvärinen, professor of Sociology at the University of Tampere, School of Social Sciences and Humanities; and Frans Mäyrä, professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media at the University of Tampere School of Information Sciences.