Tales that Travel: Storytelling in Eurasia 10th - 16th Centuries at NYU Abu Dhabi Feb 24 - 25

Matthew Keegan Discussion

Tales that Travel:
Tales that Travel: Storytelling in Eurasia, 10th-16th centuries.

A conference to be held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Abu Dhabi, Feb 24-25, 2014 

For the full program, abstracts, and information about public events, please visit our website:  https://sites.google.com/site/talesthattravel2014/

Presentations by: Bilal Orfali, Arzu ÖztürkmenDavid Bevington, Alexander Beecroft, Paize Keulemans, Ulrich Marzolph, Richard Schechner, Roberta Morosini, Richard Van Leeuwen, Paulo Lemos-Horta, Faustina Doufikar-Aerts, Paula Richman, David Wacks, Norris Lacy, Mahmood Farooqui, Mark Cruse, Franklin Lewis, Tara Mendola, Thomas McKean, Evelyn Birge Vitz, and Maurice A. Pomerantz.

A Public Performance at the NYUAD Downtown Campus: "Metamorphoses, Lovers, Heroic Deeds"
Anne Azéma, Shira Kammen, Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol Soloists from the Boston Camerata

Conference Description:

Stories, like the imaginations of those who told them, traveled widely in the interconnected mercantile world of Eurasia from the 10th to the 16th century. We propose a conference that will invite critical examination of individual tales and story collections across many diverse regions of the Eurasian landmass, and will examine modes and means through which stories circulated, were performed, and underwent transformations.

Research on tales and storytelling tends to be focused on particular literary traditions and geographical locations. This narrowness of research is often replicated in modern disciplinary divisions: literary scholars generally speak to scholars within their same linguistic tradition; folklorists tend to address other folklorists. Certain dimensions of storytelling and travel, such as their connections to economy and trade, have barely been addressed. By broadening the focus and exploring storytelling in its many different contexts, we hope to demonstrate how the study of tales and their tellers can bring us to richer and more nuanced understandings of the pre-modern cultural history of Eurasia. Such considerations should also inform the ways in which we teach this material.

Bringing together a diverse group of scholars from different disciplines and literary traditions, our conference will challenge closed and bounded conceptions of literatures and cultures that have informed previous scholarship. It will provide a forum to explore how storytellers and their tales traveled—and how tales were often transmuted. Rather than being limited to regionally specific studies such as the “Mediterranean” or the “Silk-Road,” or focusing solely on questions of cultural influence, we propose to highlight both regional differences and the broad structural commonalities of the “culture of story” across Eurasia.

This conference, organized by Evelyn (Timmie) Birge Vitz (NYU French; Comparative Literature; Medieval & Renaissance Studies; Religious Studies) and Maurice Pomerantz (NYUAD Literature), will bring together at NYUAD a group of approximately 20 internationally-known scholars and storytellers/performers.