Pinni B-building, lecture hall 3109 (Address: Kanslerinrinne 1)
Narrare: Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies
- 10.15 - 11.30 "Collective Storytelling: The Distinctiveness of We-Narration" Visiting lecture by Dr. Natalya Bekhta
- 11.30 - 12.15 Erika Pihl (Literary Studies, UTA): "In romaunce as we rede": The Rhetoric of Collectivity in Medieval Narrative”
*** lunch ***
- 13.00 - 13.45 Hanna Kuusela (Cultural Studies, UTA): “From Useful to Useless: The Politics of Collaborative Literature”
- 13.45 - 14.30 Anna Kuutsa (Literary Studies, UTA): “The Voice of Anyone: Collective Voice as an Ideological Form in Maria Jotuni's short Story ‘Kansantapa’”
*** coffee ***
- 14.45 - 15.30 Reetta Eiranen (History, UTA): “Relational and Narrative Selves in Nineteenth-century Correspondences”
- 15.30 - 16.15 Matias Nurminen (Literary Studies, UTA): “Who Are We Seducing Again? – Co-Narration and Its Inequality in the Seduction Narrative”
"Collective Storytelling: The Distinctiveness of We-Narration"
Visiting lecture by Dr. Natalya Bekhta
In this talk I shall discuss we-narration as a technique of collective storytelling. I propose a definition of we-narration as a property of irreducibly plural narrators – of groups that act as characters and that possess a storytelling voice. Despite an increased interest in we-narratives in narratology, the we-voice has been treated mostly with suspicion – as an unreliable I-narrator, hiding behind the we-reference, or as an ‘unnatural’, impossible construction in contradistinction to the ‘natural’ and mundane I-voice. I would like to argue instead that we-narrators should be recognized as an independent type of character narrators – collective characters with plural voices – which differ in crucial ways from typical first-person narrators.
Such character narrators are groups rather than individuals. Consequently, techniques for narration and expression of their actions, mental states, and relations with other characters are different from those of singular characters. Similarly, they produce different effects and require different types of readerly engagement.
Narrative fiction, I argue, constitutes a site of expression of human collectives and, in particular, a place where collective subjectivities can be imagined, constructed, and endowed with a collective voice. This talk will offer a definition and discussion of the most prominent mode of collective telling – we-narration – and of the narrative situation this mode creates – what I call we-narrative proper.
Natalya Bekhta is Postdoctoral Researcher at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture in Giessen (Germany) and a visiting scholar at Helsinki University (Finland) where she works on a project called “Spectres and Saviours in Post-Soviet Literature: Imagining Alternative Worlds” and on the manuscript of her book We-Narratives: Plural Narrators and Untypical Narrative Situations in Contemporary Fiction. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.