EVENT Mar 05
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To Shape and Share Otherwise: Neoliberalism and the Contemporary Novel (NeMLA)

Event: NeMLA
Categories: American, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, Genre & Form, Popular Culture, Literary Theory, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Adventure & Travel Writing, Children's Literature, Comics & Graphic Novels, Drama, Narratology, Poetry, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy
Event Date: 2020-03-05 to 2020-03-08 Abstract Due: 2019-09-30

"The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does compete with life."

                                                                        --Henry James in "The Art of Fiction"


According to Wendy Brown, under neoliberalism, the human subject shifts from homo politicus toward homo oeconomicus, and, as such, any and all aspects of life mutate into individual capital; likewise, all sociality transitions into predominantly economic forms. Neoliberalism thus reifies and commodifies identity and social relation in unprecedented ways. This process is its own condition and telos, flattening time into a perpetual present with no possible future while appropriating the past and subsuming all cultures and subjectivities into the logic of the free market. In our contemporary moment, such objectification compounds histories of oppression already bound up in inequality, while, simultaneously, incorporating marginalized subjects into the ever-expansive logic of late capitalism. Given these far-reaching consequences, neoliberalism's relationship to literary and cultural studies cannot be overstated.


For Mathias Nilges, the novel-form disrupts the all-encompassing nature of the neoliberal contemporary, providing a means for unmasking its universalizing logic. The novel is therefore uniquely situated to investigate neoliberalism and how the emphasis on human capital affects marginalized and oppressed communities. This panel will examine the ways in which identity and sociality are shaped and shared temporally and spatially through analyses that consider the relationship between neoliberalism and the contemporary novel. This panel seeks readings of contemporary novels to explore the ways in which identities become both reified and commodified under neoliberalism; how temporality is read and theorized under neoliberalism; how the novel counter-narrates neoliberalism's re-territorialization of space and property; and what theoretical and material means exist for formulating resistance and the possibility of post-neoliberal futures.


To submit an abstract, please follow the link: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/18125


Steven Delmagori