The Ohio State University at Lima


Explore the fundamental human instinct of storytelling at Honors Colloquium

February 10, 2019

Ohio State Lima welcomes The Storytelling Animal author Feb. 21

Jonathan Gottschall

The public is invited to the 2019 Honors Colloquium at The Ohio State University at Lima featuring American literary scholar Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human.

The Honors Colloquium is scheduled for 4 p.m., Thur., Feb. 21, 2019, in Science 100. It is free and open to all.

Gottschall writes books at the intersection of science and art. He is a leading figure in a new movement to bridge the divide between the two cultures of the sciences and the humanities. The Storytelling Animal, a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection, draws on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology and biology to show how storytelling has evolved as a fundamental human instinct.

The Storytelling Animal examines the way fiction and stories impact our lives and Gottschall is the first to do a critical examination of the role of stories in our lives from a variety of perspectives,” said Dr. Margaret Young, director of the Honors Program and associate professor of music. “The topic is multi-disciplinary and appeals to people across the campus and in many fields.”

Ohio State Lima students, faculty and staff have been exploring and discussing The Storytelling Animal throughout the academic year. The honors program hosted a discussion of the first chapter of the book in autumn semester. It was clear then that the topic had broad appeal.

“Stories, of course, are about imagining ‘What if?’ But when we think about it, much of what we know arises from that same question. How could employ the scientific method without first taking an imaginative leap? How could we understand history without shaping it into a story? In other words, stories may be as crucial to our species as language and the opposable thumb,” said Doug Sutton-Ramspeck, moderator of the autumn session, associate professor of English at Ohio State Lima, and an award-winning poet.

The colloquium is hosted by the honors program at Ohio State Lima. Students in the honors program have an ACT of 25 or higher, a 3.4 GPA or a high school class rank in the top 20 percent. The program enriches the academic and social experiences of motivated students through a variety of curricular offerings, cultural events and social activities. More than 106 students currently participate in the program.


Biography
Jonathan Gottschall writes books at the intersection of science and art. He is a leading figure in a new movement to bridge the divide between the two cultures of the sciences and the humanities. His most recent work, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection), draws on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology and biology to show how storytelling has evolved as a fundamental human instinct.

Jonathan is a distinguished research fellow in the English department at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania and blogs about the mysteries of storytelling at Psychology Today. While his Ph.D. is in English, his main dissertation advisor was the prominent evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, and he splits his academic writing between scientific and literary journals. He has also written for New Scientist, The Boston Globe, Seed Magazine, The Huffington Post, NPR and BBC Radio, and the blogs of The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company. His work has been featured in outlets like The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, Oprah Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Described by Steven Pinker as “a brilliant young scholar, Jonathan is the author or editor of six books, including The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence and the World of Homer and Literature, Science, and a New Humanities. Gottschall lives with his wife and two young daughters in Washington, Pennsylvania.