Michael was a student of sociolinguist/anthropologist Robert B. LePage (York), John Gumperz (Berkeley), and Shirley Brice Heath (Stanford), and completed his PhD in Psychology (‘Narrative Development’) under the mentorship of Elinor Rosch, Susan Ervin-Tripp, and Dan Slobin (all Berkeley). His interest in Qualitative Inquiry originated with his Assistant Professorship in the Sociology Department (1981-85) under the leadership of Martin Kohli (FU Berlin), and from there developed into a lifelong passion, bridging into the scholarship for which he became known. Since 1986, he teaches Psychology at Clark University (Adjunct: English), where he developed ‘Qualitative Inquiry,’ a required course for undergraduate majors in Psychology. This course is featured in YouTube lectures leading to his recruitment for the APA Publications and Communications Task Force on Qualitative Research for the new edition of the APA Publication Manual (2019), which, for the first time, includes guidelines for the reporting of qualitative methods in psychology and epistemological perspectives on research reporting.
Michael has been an important figure in the promotion of a series of different genres of applied linguistic, narrative and identity research. From his dissertation work on the acquisition of narratives (1987), through positioning theory (1997a, 2003) and analysis of narratives (2011b, 2012), to identity construction in talk-in-interaction (2011b, 2011c; Bamberg, De Fina & Schiffrin, 2011; Bamberg & Georgakopoulou, 2008), he has contributed varied strands to psychology, applied linguistics and identity theory (2011; De Fina, Schiffrin & Bamberg, 2006; Bamberg, De Fina, & Schiffrin, 2007, 2011). He is the founding editor of the journal Narrative Inquiry through which he supported and encouraged theorizing and research into narrative from differing perspectives for over 20 years. In addition, he also served as the series editor of Studies in Narrative consisting for a series of books at the cutting edge of narrative research. Over the summer of 2021, together with Carolin Demuth (Aalborg) and Meike Watzlawick (Berlin), he finished the edition of the Cambridge Handbook of Identity (CUP, 2021). After serving his home institution recently as Associate Dean of the College & Director of the Center for Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, he finished his Fulbright as Distinguished Chair in Humanities and Social Sciences at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan and currently serves as President of the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (APA-Division 5). This September, Michael took on a four-year term with the directorship of the Henry & Erna Leir Luxembourg Program, which makes it vital to be in Luxembourg for a good amount of his time per year.
-2020 – Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Humanities and Social Sciences at the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan
-2015 – Clark University Admissions “Hero Award” -2015 – Lee Gurel/John E. Bell Faculty Mentor Award in Psychology
-2013 – 2016 – Yunshan Chair Professorship, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, China
-2013 – APA AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED THEORETICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO PSYCHOLOGY
-2013 – Keynote, International Pragmatics Conference, New Delhi
-2013 – Keynote, Biannual National Conference on Foreign Language Teacher Education and Development, Guangzhou
Vimeo + YouTube Presentations on Narrative, Identity, and Narrative Research -The National Academies: Understanding Narratives for National Security Purposes; Panel 1 (DC, Jan 2018) -The National Academies: Understanding Narratives for National Security Purposes; Panel 4 (DC, Jan 2018) —- Thirteen short talks on the topic of INNOVATIVE LEARNING (on YouTube) —- Commentary on WHO AM I – Narration and its Contribution to Self and Identity (on YouTube)