Project volume published: Ethnic American Literatures and Critical Race Narratology 

We are very happy to announce that our Ethnic American Literatures and Critical Race Narratology volume is now published as part of Routledge’s Narrative Theory and Culture Series. Thanks to all our fantastic contributors!

Edited by Alexa Weik von Mossner, Marijana Mikić, and Mario Grill, Ethnic American Literatures and Critical Race Narratology explores the relationship between narrative, race, and ethnicity in the United States. Situated at the intersection of post-classical narratology and context-oriented approaches in race, ethnic, and cultural studies, the contributions to this edited volume interrogate the complex and varied ways in which ethnic American authors use narrative form to engage readers in issues related to race and ethnicity, along with other important identity markers such as class, religion, gender, and sexuality. Importantly, the book also explores how paying attention to the formal features of ethnic American literatures changes our under-standing of narrative theory and how narrative theories can help us to think about author functions and race. The international and diverse group of contributors includes top scholars in narrative theory and in race and ethnic studies, and the texts they analyze concern a wide variety of topics, from the representation of time and space to the narration of trauma and other deeply emotional memories to the importance of literary paratexts, genre structures, and author functions.

Foreword: Ethnoracial Encounters: From Myopic to Polyscopic Planetary Narratologies — Frederick Luis Aldama

Introduction: Narrative Encounters with Ethnic American Literatures — Alexa Weik von Mossner

PART 1: Narrating Race and Ethnicity across Time and Space

  1. Indigenous Time / Indigenous Narratives: The Political Implications of Non-Linear Time in Contemporary Native Fiction — James J. Donahue
  2. Time(s) of Race: Narrative Temporalities, Epistemic Storytelling, and the Human Species in Ted Chiang — Matthias Klestil
  3. Polychronic Narration, Trauma, Disenfranchised Grief, and Mario Alberto Zambrano’s Lotería — Mario Grill
  4. Whole New Worlds: An Exploration of Narrative Strategies Used in Afrodiasporic Speculative Fiction — Marlene Allen Ahmed

PART 2: Haunting Memories: Narrative, Race, and Emotion

  1. Emotions that Haunt: Attachment Relations in Lan Samantha Chang’s Fiction — W. Michelle Wang
  2. Race, Trauma, and the Emotional Legacies of Slavery in Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing — Marijana Mikić
  3. “There Were Strands of Darker Stories”: Reading Third-Generation Holocaust Literature as Midrash — Stella Setka
  4. Stories, Love, and Baklava: Narrating Food in Diana Abu-Jaber’s Culinary Memoirs — Alexa Weik von Mossner

PART 3: Race, Ethnicity, and Paratexts: Genre Structures and Author Functions

  1. Healing Narratives: Historical Representations in Latinx Young Adult Literature — Elizabeth Garcia
  2. Blood and Soil: Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony — Patrick Colm Hogan
  3. Metaparatextual Satire in Percival Everett’s The Book of Training and Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice — Derek Maus
  4. Author Functions, Literary Functions, and Racial Representations or What We Talk about When We Talk about Diversifying Narrative Studies — Jennifer Ho

The book is part of Routledge’s Narrative Theory and Culture series, edited by Christopher González, and is available here.

New Publication by Marijana Mikić on George S. Schuyler’s Black No More

Marijana Mikić has published an article in the Journal of Narrative Theory entitled “Satirical Afrofuturism, Race, and Emotion in George S. Schuyler’s Black No More.”

George S. Schuyler’s Black No More (1931) invites readers to embark on a journey to an alternative future world in which scientific progress promises to eliminate race. The utopian premise of a Black-free world, however, only sets the scene for Schuyler’s deeply satirical Afrofuturist imagination. The essay argues that we come to understand the novel’s critique of race as a signifier of difference through the presence of racialized emotions in the lives of virtually all of the novel’s characters. The critical and satirical gaze of Schuyler’s omniscient narrator alerts readers to the fact that there is no such thing as race, but that a racialized environment—even in the absence of skin color differences—inevitably shapes characters’ individual emotions. Not only does Black No More invite readers to understand feelings of fear, anxiety, hope, anger, shame, and disgust as shaped by processes of racialization, but it also depicts these emotions as constitutive of race and racism.

Read the entire article here.

New Publication by Marijana Mikić on Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral

Marijana Mikić has published an article in Anglia: Journal of English Philology, entitled “Mind, Body, and Race in Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun

Working at the intersection of cognitive and critical race narratology, the essay examines the relationship between the embodied mind and the social construction of race in Jessie Redmon Fauset’s Plum Bun: A Novel Without a Moral (1928/2011). The essay argues that Fauset’s African American passing novel rejects the notion of a solely ‘inward turn’, which is commonly associated with modernist literature, in favor of a more dynamic understanding of embodied cognition that acknowledges the shaping force of race and racialization. Using a seemingly traditional omniscient narrator, Fauset not only draws attention to the failure of U. S. American racial hierarchies, but she also lays bare how race impacts both individual consciousness and social cognition.

New publication by Marijana Mikić on Etaf Rum’s A Woman Is No Man

Marijana Mikić has published an article in Orbis Litterarum, entitled “Arab American women and the generational cycle of shame: A cognitive reading of Etaf Rum’s A Woman Is No Man.

The article uses a cognitive narratological approach to analyze how Etaf Rum’s A Woman Is No Man (2019) negotiates Arab American patriarchal culture through the lens of shame. By narrating the emotional experiences of Arab American women who bear the pain of shame while they also engage in shaming others, Rum gives readers the opportunity to understand better the complex relationship between the psychology of shame and the “shame of gender” in patriarchal Arab American culture. Not only does A Woman Is No Man articulate the lived experiences of one of the most “forgotten” and silenced ethnic groups within American literature and culture, it also draws attention to how gender-based shaming is shaped by, and contributes to shaping, a culture of patriarchy and male power. The novel uncovers the different ways in which shame impacts the minds and bodies of Arab American women across three generations, while also laying bare the psychological, gendered, and socio-culturally embedded aspects that shape the elicitation, experience, expression, and regulation of shame.

Marijana Mikić receives dissertation fellowship from the University of Klagenfurt

Within the framework of the one-year fellowship, which is sponsored by the University of Klagenfurt’s Faculty of Humanities, PhD researcher Marijana Mikić will work towards the completion of her dissertation project with the working title “Black Storyworlds:  Race, Space, and Emotion in Contemporary African American Literature.”

In her dissertation, Marijana explores how twenty-first century African American storyworlds interrogate the emotional violence of racial and spatial oppression, while also envisioning affectively liberating ways of self- and space-making.

Congratulations Marijana!

Ethnic American Literatures and Critical Race Narratology forthcoming from Routledge

Photo Credit: Juan Alvarez-Ajamil

Ethnic American Literatures and Critical Race Narratology, edited by the Narrative Encounters Team — Alexa Weik von Mossner, Marijana Mikić, and Mario Grill — is now under contract with Routledge for Chris Gonzáles’ Narrative Theory and Cultures series. Interrogating the relationship between narrative, race, and ethnicity in the United States, the volume includes chapters by Frederick Luis Aldama, Marlene Allen, James Donahue, Elizabeth Garcia, Jennifer Ho, Patrick Colm Hogan, Matthias Klestil, Derek Maus, Stella Setka, and W. Michelle Wang.

These contributions cover a wide range of primary texts — from historical novels and memoirs to speculative fiction, graphic novels, television and film — that belong to the literary traditions of Latinx, African American, Native American, Asian American, Jewish American, and Arab American communities. They interrogate the complex and varied ways in which ethnic American authors use narrative form to engage readers in issues related to race and ethnicity, along with other important identity markers such as class, religion, gender, and sexuality. The book also explores how paying attention to the formal features of ethnic American literatures changes our under­standing of narrative theory and how narrative theories can help us to think about the representation of time and space, the narration of trauma and other deeply emotional memories, and the importance of literary paratexts, genre structures, and author functions.

We’re very excited that we were able to attract such a fantastic group of scholars to our edited volume and can’t wait to see it in print!

Mario Grill and Marijana Mikić to participate in the 2021 Project Narrative Summer Institute

Our PhD researchers Mario Grill and Marijana Mikić have been accepted to participate in the 2021 Project Narrative Summer Institute to be held online from June 21 to July 2. PNSI is a two-week workshop at Ohio State University that offers faculty and advanced graduate students in any discipline the opportunity for an intensive study of core concepts and issues in narrative theory. The focus of the 2021 Institute, co-directed by Robyn Warhol and James Phelan, will be on “Narrative Theory and Social Justice.” This intersectional approach to narrative is of central interest to Mario and Marijana‘s work on the Narrative Encounters Project and their dissertation projects: Mario‘s dissertation, entitled “Transgressing Borders: Chicanx Literatures, Emotion, Time, and Cognitive Ethnic Narratology“ and Marijana’s dissertation, entitled “Black Storyworlds: Race, Space, and Emotion in Contemporary African American Literature.” The PNSI will offer Mario and Marijana a wonderful opportunity to discuss their individual engagements with the relationship between narrative theory and socio-cultural context in a productive intellectual community.

Marijana Mikić receives grant from AAU’s Young-Scientists-Mentoring Program

Within the framework of the one-year grant, PhD researcher Marijana Mikić will work closely with her mentors Derek Maus and James Donahue at the State University of New York at Potsdam.

Professor Maus is an expert in contemporary African American literature, in particular in the field of black satire. His recent publications on the topic inlcude Conversations with Colson Whitehead (2019) and Jesting in Earnest: Percival Everett and Menippean Satire (2019). Professor Donahue is one of the pioneers in the field of critical race narratology, as is evidenced by his recent Contemporary Native Fiction: Toward a Narrative Poetics of Survivance (2019) and the volume Narrative, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States (2017), which he co-edited with Jennifer Ho and Shaun Morgan. Maus and Donahue’s interdisciplinary research at the intersection of narrative theory and ethnic American literature is of central interest to Marijana’s work on the Narrative Encounters Project and her dissertation, entitled “Black Storyworlds: Race, Space, and Emotion in Contemporary African American Literature.”

Marijana’s plans during the one-year mentoring program include a research visit at SUNY Potsdam next spring and a visit from her mentors here in Klagenfurt in September 2021. We are excited about these wonderful opportunities and congratulations Marijana!

CFP for International Conference “Narrative Encounters with Ethnic American Literatures”

Photo Credit: Juan Alvarez-Ajamil

Conveners: Alexa Weik von Mossner, Marijana Mikić, and Mario Grill
Location: University of Klagenfurt, Austria
Date: September 17-19, 2020

Taking a cue from pioneering efforts at the intersection of context-oriented approaches in race and ethnicity studies and post-classical narratology, this conference is interested in the relationship between narrative, race, and ethnicity in the United States.

Reading so-called “ethnic” American literatures means encountering characters and storyworlds imagined by writers associated with various minority communities in the United States. Without doubt, the formal study of narrative can help us gain a deeper understanding of such encounters, but until recently, narratologists rarely grappled with the question of how issues of race and ethnicity force us to rethink the formal study of narrative.

Attesting that the relative “race/ethnicity-blindness” of narrative theory is a severe limitation, scholars such as James Donahue have called for a “critical race narratology” (2017, 3) that addresses this lacuna. A range of recent book publications (e.g. Aldama 2005; Donahue 2019; Donahue, Ho, and Morgan 2017; Fetta 2018; Gonzáles 2017; Kim 2013; Moya 2016; Wyatt and George 2020) demonstrate that a variety of insights can be gained from narratological approaches that open themselves up to issues of race and ethnicity in conjunction with other important identity markers including class, religion, gender, and sexuality. And, as Sue Kim has noted, there are shared interests in understanding the ways in which such narratives “operate within larger social structures as well as an investment in the scrutiny of how minds and subjectivity work in and through narratives” (2017, 16).

How do ethnic American literary texts use narrative form to engage readers in issues related to race and ethnicity? What narrative strategies do they employ to interweave these issues with other important identity markers such as class, religion, gender, and sexuality? How do they involve readers emotionally in their storyworlds and how do they relate such involvements to the racial politics and history of the United States? And how does paying attention to the strategies and formal features of ethnic American literatures change our understanding of narrative theory? These are some of the questions we hope to address at this conference.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Frederick Luis Aldama, Distinguished University Professor, Ohio State University

Patrick Colm Hogan, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, University of Connecticut

Paula Moya, Danily C. and Laura Louise Bell Professor of the Humanities, Stanford University

We invite paper proposals on topics including, but not limited to the following:

  • Theoretical intersections of race/ethnicity and narrative theory
  • Narrative worldmaking and ethnic American storyworlds in fiction and nonfiction
  • Narrative strategies of representing racial and ethnic histories
  • Intersectional narratologies
  • Narrative identification and disidentification
  • Performativity and ethnic identity
  • Cognitive approaches to ethnic American literatures
  • Narrative engagement, simulation, embodiment, and emotion
  • Affective reader response and the empathic imagination
  • Unnatural narratives and non-normative narrators
  • Narrative ethics, race, and the environmental imagination
  • Empirical reception studies related to ethnic American literatures


The conference is supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in the context of the Narrative Encounters Project.

There are plans to publish an edited collection related to the conference theme; selected papers will be considered for inclusion.

Abstracts (300-400 words) for 20-minute papers (in English) and a short bio note should be submitted by email no later than Jan 31, 2020 to: narrative.encounters@aau.at