Framing Narratives

Do18NovGanztägigFr19Framing NarrativesNew Perspectives on Premodern Textual Production in ArabicVeranstaltungsartKonferenz


Organised by Beatrice Gründler (EXC 2020, Research Area 3: “Future Perfect”) and Johannes Stephan (Freie Universität Berlin, “Kalila and Dimna – AnonymClassic”, ERC).

Event in collaboration with the ERC project Kalila and Dimna – AnonymClassic.

This international conference is the final part of a series of events that invites discussions on how to engage with the concept of narrative framing in premodern Arabic literature and adjacent literary traditions. The aim of the conference is to develop a comprehensive definition of «framing narratives» beyond a merely descriptive perspective, and to interrogate its function within literary history and theory. In literary theory, the Arabic tradition serves as the most popular example for frame narratives. Besides the well-known Arabian Nights, notably through its European reception, many other frame narratives have passed from various languages into and through Arabic, among them the Book of Sindbad and Kalila and Dimna. Such frame narratives serve both as models for other literary projects ­– premodern and modern – in different traditions and as a point of departure for analytical concepts in literary theory. The activity of framing a narrative or embedding tales into a larger narrative framework of an anthological, encyclopedic or biographic nature are more than elegant or entertaining literary devices. Narrative Framing is rather to be seen as a means to understand, define or contextualize human oral and written communication as well as an activity of erecting relationships, not only between textual units and narrators, but also between perspectives, works, persons, and diverging temporalities. The thematic scope of our conference, therefore, will not be confined to a particular (premodern) genre or a specific narrative form. Rather by emphasizing the activity of “framing”  broadly as one of many ways of doing literature, the conference shall spur discussions on how to adequately analyze and understand narrative and non-narrative interactions within Arabic textual culture and between Arabic and adjacent traditions such as Persian, Syriac, Hebrew, and Castillan prior to the 19th century. 

The conference will be held as a hybrid event in English.


Villa Engler
Altensteinstraße 2
14195 Berlin

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18. November 2021 - 19. November 2021 (Ganztägig)(GMT+02:00)

Freie Universität Berlin

Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin

Freie Universität Berlin