ASU’s Jason Robert to Give Lincoln Lecture on Storytelling & Narrative Ethics

Storytelling plays an essential role in personal and professional lives, and Jason Robert is bringing his perspective on the art of storytelling to Chautauqua.

Robert will return to the Institution at 12:30 p.m. today, July 22, in the Hall of Philosophy, to present “Narrative, Ethics, and Narrative Ethics,” as part of the Lincoln Applied Ethics Series.

Robert holds the Lincoln Chair in Ethics and is director of the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics at Arizona State University. He is also Dean’s Distinguished Professor in the Life Sciences at ASU.

“What I’m going to be talking about is the role that storytelling plays in our everyday lives, but also in how we think about ourselves and position ourselves in the world,” Robert said.

The lecture will explore the ways that using stories, as well as sharing them, helps people grapple with either ethical, emotional or other kinds of challenges.

“There’s been a tradition in philosophy to think about personhood and our personal identity in terms of the narratives that we craft,” Robert said. “So I’m going to be talking a little bit from that tradition and then also tying it into some of the ethical challenges that we face, primarily as individuals, but also as members of communities.”

Robert said the lecture not only relates to the Week Five theme, “The Life of the Spoken Word,” but it will also showcase how people relate to one another through storytelling.

“I think that Chautauquans will be interested in it on the basis of the way it’s going to tie into the overall week, but also in terms of practical lectures about how we relate to ourselves, to each other and the world around us through the stories that we tell,” he said.

A three-session master class following the lecture will be held at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the Ballroom of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall. Robert said the class will be interactive and use engaging storytelling techniques.

“I structured the course around a little bit of lecturing,” Robert said. “It’s really going to be an activity that we can all engage in together where we’ll take some time to do a little bit of self-life writing and turn that into a shared experience where we can all get a sense of what it is we’re trying to struggle through.”

Robert is bringing a small group of ASU undergraduates to Chautauqua. On these trips, Robert said, students seem to grow closer and immerse themselves in the community by attending events on the grounds.

“This is the third year that we’ve brought small cohorts with us with the idea that we have an opportunity for them to experience Chautauqua on the grounds, and maybe initiate a new generation of lifelong Chautauquans,” Robert said.
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The author Marianna Moore

Marianna Moore is a rising senior at the University of Missouri. She is studying journalism with a concentration in strategic communication. She interns as a writer for the university’s Office of Student Affairs and previously interned as a social media manager with Mizzou International Experience. In her free time, Marianna likes to volunteer at the Central Missouri Humane Society and enjoys writing poetry.