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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.


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:
    Maria Mäkelä, University of Tampere
  • First Vice President:
    Sylvie Patron, University of Paris Diderot
  • Second Vice President:
    Lindsay Holmgren, McGill University
  • Past President:
    Dan Punday, Mississippi State University
  • 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
  • Per Krogh Hansen, Member-at-Large, University of Southern Denmark, 2017-2019
  • Tara MacDonald, Member-at-Large, University of Idaho, 2017-2019
  • Christopher González, Member-at-Large, Utah State University, 2018-2020
  • Henrik Skov Nielsen, Member-at-Large, Aarhus University, 2018-2020
  • Dorothee Birke, Member-at-Large, University of Innsbruck, 2019-2021
  • Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman, Member-at-Large, Brown University, 2019-2021
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