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The International Society for the Study of Narrative
Narrative is international, transhistorical, transcultural: it is simply there, like life itself. Quote by Rolad Barthes overlaid on arabic script. Abstract paining with red and green patches of color over a historical manuscript written in English. Close-up of letters used in a printing press, scattered in a pile. White scrolls with traditional Chinese characters written on them, overlaid by a semi-translucent red foreground. On the left, a semi-conductor circuit pattern. On the right, printed Chinese characters in a book or newspaper.
Statement of Solidarity from the Executive Council of the International Society for the Study of Narrative


The International Society for the Study of Narrative (ISSN) is a nonprofit association of scholars dedicated to the investigation of narrative, its elements, techniques, and forms; its relations to other modes of discourse; its power and influence in cultures past and present.

"Narrative" for us is a category that may include the novel, epic poetry, history, biography, autobiography, film, the graphic arts, journalism, music, performance, legal writing, medical case histories, and more.

The Society sponsors the International Conference on Narrative each year. The first conference was held at Ohio State University in 1986, and in subsequent years, the meeting has been held at sites across the United States, Canada, and Europe. At each conference, approximately 350 speakers address issues of narrative from a variety of positions and perspectives.

Executive Council

  • President:
    Lindsay Holmgren, McGill University
  • First Vice President:
    Erin James, University of Idaho
  • Second Vice President:
    Paul Dawson, University of New South Wales
  • Past President:
    Sylvie Patron, University of Paris Diderot
  • Secretary-Treasurer; Editor, Narrative:
    Jim Phelan, The Ohio State University
  • Conference Liaison:
    Sue J. Kim, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  • Electronic Communications Coordinator:
    Edward Maloney, Georgetown University
  • Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman, Member-at-Large, Brown University, 2019-2021
  • Dorothee Birke, Member-at-Large, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, 2019-2021
  • Helen H. Davis, Member-at-Large, Wilkes University, 2020-2022
  • Aaron Oforlea, Member-at-Large, Washington State University, 2020-2022
  • Alice Bell, Member-at-Large, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Marta Figlerowicz, Member-at-Large, Yale University
  • Nicole McCleese, Grad Caucus, Michigan State University
  • Evan Van Tassell, Grad Caucus, The Ohio State University
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