Ana Grgić

Streaming 17 March

What is Narrative Self?

Ana Grgić, PhD Candidate in Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy and Religious Studies of the University of Zagreb, Croatia; research assistant at the Institute of Philosophy in Zagreb, Croatia



I have always been interested in stories and different ways of how people communicate, so I finished Master's degree in Communication Sciences. Near the end of my study, I had an urge to write, but the problem was that I was particularly picky about the content of my writing, for it needed to be meaningful––not only about what and how we communicate but about why we do it in the first place. So, I started to pursue that big question, and this led me to philosophy. Afterward, the story of my educational trajectory was quite linear: I finished Master's degree in Philosophy and then followed the doctoral study in Philosophy.

Currently, I am writing a PhD thesis that focuses on the human capability of seeing one’s life as a story (or on a more moderate claim: that stories matter a great deal to us), thus making both the ability and the story a powerful tool that we use to create meaning for our actions, thoughts, desires, beliefs, etc. I am grateful for this opportunity to write and finish my doctoral thesis as a fellow of the Wirth Institute at the University of Alberta. 

So, why do we tell stories about the things we encounter and about our own experiences? Because, apparently, it is inevitable. We are all born storytellers or narrativists, as some would say. But not all would agree. Philosophy is a precious minefield when it comes to agreeing and disagreeing. As I am still researching the field, I cannot give you a clear-cut answer to the question of whether we actually are hardwired with stories.

Until then, I may add that stories still fascinate me up to the point that I enjoy writing them. I am a published author of two short stories, five academic papers, and a couple of popular papers (or papers in “public philosophy,” as it is called today). I have attended many conferences despite disliking it (public speaking, or even speaking in general is not my strongest suit, but if I have to do it I will).

Apart from that, my work has been recognized by the Institute of Philosophy (Zagreb, Croatia) where my duties include, among many other things, service as a managing editor of the oldest Croatian philosophical journal, Prilozi za istraživanje hrvatske filozofske baštine.