The Role of Narrative in the Natural Sciences and Humanities

February 28, 2019

March 1, 2019

9:00 am To 4:00 pm

64 Morningside Drive, New York, NY 10027


Event Description

While all disciplines employ narrative in their work to summarize and communicate their theories, methods, and results, the realm of narrating (more colloquially known as storytelling) has traditionally been considered a literary or historical endeavor under the purview of the humanities and social sciences. This is no longer the case. As evidenced by the burgeoning fields of narrative medicine and science communication, narratives and narrating are also important tools for the natural sciences.  Neuroscientists have even recently proposed that “narrative” may be a better way of theorizing about the processes by which the brain represents the context used to sort and order memories in order to create a timeline of events. In light of this development, the conference seeks to explore the following topics: 1. What “narrative” means, and the role it plays, in the humanities, social sciences, journalism, law, the natural sciences, and medicine.2. Why humans create narratives–perspectives from anthropology to neuroscience.3. Narrating with “qualitative” and with “quantitative” data.4. Communicating to the public through narratives and storytelling.  This symposium follows on the conference, Evidence: An Interdisciplinary Conversation about Knowing and Certainty, held at Columbia University on April 21-22, 2017 and The Success of Failure: Perspectives from the Arts, Sciences, Humanities, Education, and Law, held at Columbia University on December 7-8, 2017. Similar in format, speakers from different disciplines are invited to share their perspective and then engage in a moderated discussion.  This conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Please click on the “Register” button above. Please visit the Faculty House website for directions. For a list of confirmed speakers, conference schedule, and additional information, please visit the Center for Science and Society website. FAQs What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event? The event is located on the Columbia University campus, within walking distance from the 1, A ,B, C, D subway lines. How can I contact the organizer with any questions? Please send an email to   Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event? No, but you may be asked your name in order to check in at the front desk. 

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