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Institute of Advanced Study

Professor David Herman

Professor of the Engaged Humanities in the Department of English Studies, David Herman is currently working to bring ideas from narrative studies into dialogue with scholarship on animals and human-animal relationships.

While a Christopherson/Knott Fellowship he will be working on a book project titled Narratology beyond the Human. The project explores how the study of fictional as well as nonfictional narratives that include but extend beyond the domain of the human can open up productive routes of exchange among the arts, sciences, and humanities, and how approaching these narratives from a cross-disciplinary perspective can in turn foster new ways of imagining and responding to trans-species entanglements in the larger biosphere. Because so many encounters with animals are mediated through narratively organized discourse, there is pressing need for a comprehensive model of what storytelling practices reveal about (human attitudes toward) the nonhuman world and its inhabitants. A model that integrates structural and contextual analysis, combining the technical methods of narratology with research on cultural understandings of animals and human-animal interactions, can achieve such comprehensiveness, allowing for a step change in this area of inquiry.