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AFAM 401: Narratives of Race

Definitional Essay # 2--Narrative

Define narratives.

  1. What is the concept?
  2. What is its etymology?
  3. Origins?
  4. Usage?
  5. Signal figures?
  6. Texts?
  7. Contexts?
  8. Academic Disciplines Involved?

Definitions must account for scope and content.

Explore the issue of scope; how wide a net does this definition cast?

Explore the issue of content; what does this definition include/exclude?

What are the implications (potential consequences) of your definition? Does narrative show up in your academic disciplines, and how? What are the implications for your disciplines’ treatment of such issues as facts, values, power, and representation?

Definitions must account for distinctions and interactions between narrative as a term referencing a literary (disciplinary) genre in a more discrete sense and as one signifying a significant aspect of knowledge production, the making of social relations and realities and making of our identities and our sense of self.

Definitions must take into account how narrative functions to link, pattern, sequence and relay the historical events, interactions, locations and visual and verbal images employed in our ways of knowing.

Online Subject Encyclopedias

Use these sources as a starting point for your definitional essay.

Sage Reference Online Do an advanced search. Change the search from keyword to title on the drop down menu. Type the word narrative. You can also filter your results by subject:  Media, Communications, and Cultural Studies.
Gale Virtual Reference Library Do an advanced search. Type narrative in the search box labeled document title.
Oxford Reference Online Lots of short entries on narrative.

Subject Encyclopedias

Search for Books

Use Primo to find resources on your topic at Collins Library and beyond. Request books held by Summit libraries for delivery to Collins Library within 3-5 days.

To find books about narrative, use the  following search terms in the catalog:

  • Narrative
  • Narrative and rhetoric
  • Narration


Examples of Books


In addition to the databases listed below, re-read the article posted on Moodle called Narration as a Human Communication Paradigm by Walter Fisher.

Search EBSCO