Rendez-vous de l'Institut: The Fellows' Series

Dina Nayeri:
Problem Stories: When Truth Isn’t Enough

  • Thu, October 24, 2019 | 6:30 p.m.
  • Reid Hall | 4, rue de Chevreuse, 75006 Paris
  • Free and open to the public

Today’s refugees will spend years battling to be believed—not because they
are liars but because they’re forced to make their stories fit a small set of
accepted narratives, and because "truth" in storytelling is a product of culture.
When they arrive in Europe or America, the displaced endure increasingly
arduous and narrow definitions of truth. Meanwhile, powerful voices spread
provable falsehoods with impunity. Why are some narratives believed, and
others dismissed as lies? What is the coded language of truth in the West?

Dina Nayeri's next book will examine truth in oral histories, particularly in crisis
narratives (like those of refugees), which are often told under pressure, with
shame and fear distorting memories, and without sophisticated persuasive
tools. She will use literary tools to capture the strange, twisted honesty of
refugee narratives, challenging existing notions of the relationship between
truth and facts (and the calculated use of both in private and public), and
how truth is (and should be) defined and disseminated in personal histories,
crisis narratives, in politics and in the news.

Read more about Dina Nayeri.

For more information on this series of talks, please download our full schedule of talks here.