Tag Archives: metanarratives

A thousand years of grievance? Here???

When I write about speeches that get people really riled up – as part of our research team’s ongoing study of genocide – one of my favorite examples is Slobodan Milošević’s Gazimestan speech. About a million Serbs showed up to … Continue reading

Posted in history, narrative science, US politics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The hidden danger of stories – and a friendly alternative

Audiences loved the 2019 Downton Abbey movie, but some reviewers found fault. The New York Times review noted there was “barely enough plot to go around.” The critic for RogerEbert.com frames it more positively: It’s a movie about seeing people … Continue reading

Posted in narrative science | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

When is a story not a story?

This question comes up a lot in my line of work – honestly, all too often. Let’s start with a definition. A story is a description of a particular event or series of events with a focus on one or … Continue reading

Posted in category science, narrative science | Tagged , | 3 Comments

The burden of George R.R. Martin – and what suspense and its resolution mean for us in the real world

I can still picture the display in our local university bookstore, sometime around 1999 – a major new fantasy series, with at least two books in print: A Game of Thrones, and A Clash of Kings. It looked medieval, and … Continue reading

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The story of Dido, Aeneas, a gender-queer Sorceress, and the fate of… England?

This past weekend I had the good fortune to see a most unusual opera. I confess, I’m not actually an opera fan, not in the conventional sense – as of yet I have no interest in Verdi, Puccini, et al. … Continue reading

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Choosing your battleground: Joe Brewer’s story

Today is my friend and colleague Joe Brewer’s birthday. In honor of Joe’s special day – and tomorrow’s U.S. election – I’m sharing part of my in-progress book’s chapter 11, “Transcending Loss,” where I write about Joe and the importance … Continue reading

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The Axis of Awesomeness

Our collective stories about who we are and where we’re headed are potent elements of our culture, especially during election season, as you may have seen in my recent Scientific American essay and my earlier posts in this blog.  My … Continue reading

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The Science of America’s Dueling Political Narratives

I’m delighted to have my work appear in today’s Scientific American.  Please check it out!

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Our enduring debt to the 300 Spartans

Has it been 2,500 years already? It was in August or September of 480 B.C. that King Leonidas of Sparta and his 300 elite soldiers (with some allies) held off more than 100,000 Persian soldiers for three days at Thermopylae, … Continue reading

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The Twelve Super-Stories

Let’s imagine you’ve been invited to speak to your entire country! You have to talk about current events (sorry, no sharing your hobbies or bragging about your kids), and the purpose of your talk is not just to educate, but … Continue reading

Posted in narrative science | Tagged , , | 10 Comments