All through the ages, there is evidence of humankind sharing, adapting and re-imagining narrative through storytelling. It could be argued that there are as many stories as there are people and as many ways to tell a story as there are to share it. Yet some manifest beyond the personal realm and quite literally make history, enable change and shape cultures by becoming treasured tales. What is it about this search for a red thread that shapes our ideas of peace, conflict, societies, togetherness and distinctions? Who are we with our stories and who tells them?

The aim and spark for this seminar is to connect dots and discover more when looking more closely at what shapes our understanding for peace and conflict through fairy tales and legends. We will take the opportunity of the varieties of backgrounds available to us – after all, each one of us brings their own book of stories, legends and tales with them, of the personal and wider societal kind – to discover, share and investigate the role of the fantastical in the common, the novel in the assumed and the well-told in the everyday.  Together, we will explore what it means to (re-)tell and (re-)invent those stories that often shape their places as fabulous transformations in peaces, conflicts and societies across cultures.

We will start our seminar with a binary system, where we will have a plenary session (lecture, discussion and/or group work) every second day, while on the other days talks between individual students/working groups and us as well as group work will take place. By way of a general structure, we will start off with an introduction into our topic both on a theoretical and practical level. Then we will “send you out into the world”, whichever world you may have available to you at the time, to do your research and collect stories as well as their backgrounds. Later, we will work on the storytelling aspects, and again this will include academic storytelling as well as a more poetic style, and you will see how perfectly well both go together without excluding the other!

This is our plan right now, and it is the one we will start our course with together. Once we have started, we will be flexible to adjust and adapt the working plan according to the circumstances and the projects that we decide on together. Despite what you may now have in mind with regards to (magical?) (fairy-tale?) storytelling days, we will work with academic rules and we will also look at them more closely, because even rules are based on stories, and because academia happens in a context that we need to be aware of as part of our stories.

Fear not, however, there will be time for days of wonder(ing) if you care to look for it. We will have lots of time to listen to stories, to collect stories and to work on them in many different aspects of peace studies perspectives.

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