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Kod przedmiotu: 2500-EN_F_66 Kod Erasmus / ISCED: 14.4 / (0313) Psychologia
Nazwa przedmiotu: Storytelling
Jednostka: Wydział Psychologii
Grupy: Academic basket
Elective courses
electives for 2 and 3 year
Interdisciplinary Courses basket
Punkty ECTS i inne: (brak)
zobacz reguły punktacji
Język prowadzenia: angielski
Rodzaj przedmiotu:


Skrócony opis: (tylko po angielsku)

Why do we tell stories? Which purposes do they serve? We use our

narrative skills not only for mere entertainment. In fact, the ability to

narrate plays a major role in creating one’s identity, describing one’s

experience, naming the feelings, passing the knowledge and shaping

relationships. During the course we’ll discuss storytelling from both the

psychological and anthropological perspective. It is a huge field of work,

therefore we will focus our attention on several issues listed below.

Pełny opis: (tylko po angielsku)

According to Bruner and his followers, we can re-live our private

experience and gain a new perspective on what had happened to us only

by describing the events and feelings with words. Throughout narration

we point to causes and effects, we choose interpretations and finally

come to an understanding that we see as satisfactory. Therefore,

narration is one of the basic tools of a mind. Which could lead to a

conclusion, that each and every mind, as an ‘inner-world of words’ is


But our minds are not as unique as one might think. An individual caries

an imprint of ‘other voices’, generated both by direct social contact and

by less obvious, harder to trace tropes in grand narrations. They

constitute an ‘inner-narrative script’ and add to what is called a

‘polyphonic personality’. Have you ever wondered, why is pop-culture so

repetitive? Or why do we feel the urge to participate in several forms of

artificial reality? To answer these questions we will discuss the universal

and culture-specific values of myths, legends, and tales.

Literatura: (tylko po angielsku)

Weekly meetings would be dedicated to following topics:

1. Basic definitions: storytelling and storytellers, myth, epic story, folk

tale, fairy tale, fable, adage, auto-narration, polyphony of personality,

subjective reality, mythos, logos, flow.

Malinowski, B. (1954). Magic, science and religion and other essays.

Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., Inc., Chapter 13. "Myth in primitive

psychology," pp. 176-184.

Excerpts from: Levi-Strauss, C. The structural study of myth and totemism.

Reprinted in The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 68, No. 270. Myth: A

Symposium (Oct. - Dec. 1955), pp. 428-444.

2. Functions and types of myths. Myths about the beginnings of the

world, creating human beings, dividing the world between the “good” vs

“evil” forces, establishing ethnical differences, creating a script for future

moral judgement, explaining features of physical environment, changing

of seasons. Students will be encouraged to find and provide the texts of

myths that originated in the regions of their homeland. Homework:

choosing a myth to be presented and discussed during next two classes.

3. and 4. Universal patterns in myths. What is cross-cultural and what

could be culture-specific? Students will present their findings. That could

lead to more in-depth understanding of the similarities and differences

between cultures. Homework: reading excerpts from the works of M.

Eliade and J. Campbell.

Campbell, J. (2004). A hero with a thousand faces. Princeton, New Jersey:

Princeton University Press.

Eliade, M. (2005). The myth of the eternal return: cosmos and history.

Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Haviland, W. A. (2000). Anthropology. Harcourt Collage Publishers.

Chapter on Verbal arts, pages 728-735

5. Universal types of characters in an epic story. What makes a hero the

hero? Which features are described, which are omitted in a myth, a fairy

tale, a superhero movie? Discussing the works of J. Campbell. Homework:

Students will be encouraged to search for similarities between heroes in

several types of discourse, from ancient stories to modern narratives. Do

the heroes develop their personality or do they have to stay unchanged?

Helpful source: web site “TV tropes”.

6. We will discuss the tropes we have found and ask ourselves about the

needs that are addressed by a given work of art. Homework: reading

excerpts from Propp, W. (1928). Morphology of the folk tale, translated by

The American Folklore Society and Indiana University in 1968.

Introduction, chapter II, pp. 1-45.

7. Why is the narration of a fairy-tale so repetitive? The findings of W.

Propp. Essays of Umberto Eco and the construction of James Bond


8. and 9. Students will analyse the construction of narratives found in

recent pop-culture (mainly Marvel and DC movies). What do we expect?

Why are we glad not to be surprised by the ending of a superhero movie?

10. Stories about group identity. Grand narratives of the culture. Religious

texts, legends about national heroes. What purpose do they serve in

creating the group identity? Which tools can be used to make a research

on that? Homework: reading the works of Roland Barthes. The most

welcomed would be ‘An introduction to the structural analysis of

narrative’, which could be found in New Literary History, Vol. 6, No. 2, On

Narrative and Narratives, (Winter, 1975), pp. 237-272, published by The

Johns Hopkins University Press. Also extracts from McLean, K.C. (2016).

The co-authored self: family stories and the construction of personal

identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

11. Stories as cultural patterns. Which types of anecdotes and parables

are the most popular in modern “global village”? Which are

stereotypically connected with a given culture? What is lost in

translation? Students will reflect on the probable reasons for limited

diversity and the popularity of chosen modern authors. Homework:

reading excerpts of Csikszentmihalyi M. (2014). Flow and the foundations

of positive psychology: the collected works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.


12. Stories of individual experience. Both grand narrations and popculture

are reflected in an individual. How do they coordinate our

believes, choices and actions? We will discuss the need to participate in

several forms of artificial reality as well as the notions of “flow”, “logos”,

“mythos” and “polyphony of personality”. Homework: reading the works

of J. Bruner, J. Pennebaker, R. Fiviush & C.A. Haden.

Bruner, J. (1991). The narrative construction of reality. Critical Inquiry,

Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 1-21.

Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a

therapeutic process. Psychological Science, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 162-166.

Pennebaker, J. W., Seagal, J. D., (1999). Forming a story: The health

benefits of narrative. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 55(10), pp. 1243–


Fivush, R., Haden, C.A. (2013). Autobiographical memory and the

construction of a narrative self: Developmental and cultural perspectives.

New York, NY: Psychology Press. (extracts)

13. Stories and the needs of adults. According to Bruner and his followers,

we can re-live our private experience and gain a new perspective on what

had happened to us only by describing the events and feelings with

words. It’s no wonder, that psychotherapy takes a form of a dialogue.

Throughout an auto-narration we point to causes and effects, we choose

interpretations and finally come to an understanding that we see as

satisfactory. Therefore, narration is one of the basic tools of a mind. We

should focus our attention on the works of Jerome Bruner, James

Pennebaker and Milton Ericson. Homework: reading excerpts from the

works of Bruno Bettelhaim and Doris Brett (provided by me).

14. Stories and the needs of children. It is believed that listening to bedtime

stories plays an important role in children’s wellbeing. We will

discuss the works of Bettelhaim and Brett, who advocated the use of fairy

tales in children’s therapy. Students will be asked to write their own

version of such a story.

15. Final test

Efekty uczenia się: (tylko po angielsku)

We will be discussing both the universal and culture-specific values of

myths and legends, the way they are portrayed by modern humanities.

That could be quite useful in our “global village”. Students will gain

experience in looking for structures and tropes in several types of

narratives. We will define the desirable traits of a hero, an antagonist, a

superhero, as well as his/hers limitations. We will talk about creating

one’s own autobiography, the ‘inner voices’ of polyphonic personality, the

need for artificial reality during life span, and the positive role of narrative

when one has to deal with an inexplicable experience. We will also

mention the therapeutic aspect of folk tales and bed-time stories.

Metody i kryteria oceniania: (tylko po angielsku)

In order to pass the course, Student needs to collect more than 40 points.

Grading policy:

< 40 points = Fail (2)

40-43 3

44-49 3.5

50-59 4

60-69 4.5

70-75 5

Points will be given for:

Final test (a “multiple-choice-single-answer” type + 3 open questions),

graded 0-60 points.

Providing a myth or a legend for class-discussion: 0-10 points.

Writing a fairytale/bed-time story: 0-5 points.

Attendance rules

Students are allowed two unexcused absences and up to two additional

absences in case of formal excuse. More absences will result in failing the


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