How does narrative create a sense of identity and give value to our lives? What are the ethical implications of looking at knowledge as a construction of narrative? The concept of narrative is currently used across disciplines to describe how people, texts, and institutions create meaning. This course will explore the idea that stories organize our thinking and our lives. We will begin with Plato’s ideas on tragedy and Aristotle’s Poetics , which later narrative explorations emulate and challenge. Our reading of Cervantes’s Don Quixote , Diderot’s Jacques the Fatalist , and modern fictions will investigate the ways fictional texts radically reinvent literary forms and question social conventions. The works of critics such as Bakhtin, Chatman, Schafer, and Iser will reveal how narrative has been adopted as both a theoretical model and a methodology within a variety of fields. Students will carry out projects that explore narrative trends within their particular areas of interest.