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The Shadow Knows: Negative Plotting and Narrative Politics

October 30, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

This Project Narrative Founders’ Lecture will be given by Professor Emerita Susan Lanser, Brandeis University.

It is a truism that stories are often made from other stories and a narratological truth that stories build their plots through forking paths in which something does, and therefore something else does not, happen.  Drawing on both of these assumptions, my talk explores a more specific kind of plotting in which a text takes meaning from negating or reversing a plot or plot element that has been inscribed in a prior narrative.  In such circumstances, opposing plots effectively operate in tandem, one shadowing the other, to produce the narrative experience. My talk will explain what I mean by negative plotting, outline the multiple forms it can take, and explore its significance for understanding both individual texts and broader cultural landscapes.  I will further argue that negative plotting has been a significant feature of political and literary movements and is thus worthy of deeper probing by both narrative theorists and social activists.

This will be a hybrid event with the following Zoom information:
Meeting ID: 925 8218 5611
Password: 838658

Sue Lancer



October 30, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT


Denney Hall
164 Annie and John Glenn Ave
Columbus, Ohio 43210
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(614) 292-1667
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