Reliving the Crash: Global Recession Narratives in Film and Television in America
MacBain & Boyd Publishers invites articles for a scholarly anthology about post-recession and post-depression narratives in American film and television, titled Reliving the Crash: Global Recession Narratives in Film and Television in America. The projected release date is Fall 2018.
Deadline: May 1, 2018
When the American housing bubble burst in 2007, followed by the failure of major banks and a global financial recession from 2008-2009, social anxieties arose around the real and common problems of home ownership, financial solvency, investments, and even the role of free market capitalism. Now, although the U.S. economy has recovered, enjoying near-record lows in unemployment, the social scars of recession still remain. A collective sense of scarcity of jobs persists, and people whose homes were foreclosed on or who lost their investments and 401(K)s are still trying to recover. The dissatisfaction with the power and influence of Wall Street on everyday Americans’ lives grew into certain attitudes, and even movements such as Occupy Wall Street, as well as political rhetoric around “Washington insiders,” “Wall Street ties,” and “the real America.” Campaigns by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Bill de Blasio, and Donald Trump all made claims about the state of the economy and the capitalist system. Issues of race and gender were recognized by many as problematizing economic inequality and lack of opportunities to reestablish financial wealth or savings.
While the American white middle class was spotlighted in politics as bearing the brunt of the subprime mortgage crisis, government statistics bear out that people of color were disproportionately affected by the housing bubble burst of 2007. White working class Americans in “coal country” were feted and encouraged by some to hope for increased coal production while also simultaneously confronted by others with prognostications of a coal-less future. In film and television, both narrative fiction and documentary since 2007, there has often been multifarious identifications of the victims of the financial recession and its perpetrators and a posing of the working class of America against the American upper class and white collar Wall Street, and white working class Americans against non-white Americans and non-white immigrants. Examining film and television history, we can see that issues of socioeconomic inequality and collective trauma from economic depressions and recessions have been frequently featured on screen. Film and television often step in to express a sense of collective trauma, but has the work, and has Hollywood, dealt with the reality of the recent financial recession in ways similar to how it has dealt in the past with the Great Depression or previous economic hard times? Overwhelmingly, the work produced since 2007 (and historically), has, when telling stories of “everyday Americans,” focused disproportionately on white communities and, specifically, on white male experiences of financial disenfranchisement. In dealing with the “villainous” Wall Street traders, film and television have exposed the predominantly white male make up of that community. What questions do these depictions pose for scholars?
In this anthology, a wide array of perspectives and discussions of both historical and contemporary film and television will be presented to provide a deeper picture of post-recession narratives and their place in society, with a particular focus on race, gender, and class.
Questions to be addressed might include:
How have film and television since 2007 (or before) served to portray a gendered, racialized economic system in the U.S.?
Is capitalism as a system, and the possibility of financial gain or loss, been masculinized in recent or historical post-recession narratives?
What are the critiques of capitalism that appear in film and television contemporaneously as well as historically?
How can we best interrogate recent recession history through analysis of film and television?
How do race and gender play into narratives about labor and socioeconomic disenfranchisement?
Contributors are welcome to define "post-recession" in broad terms that may incorporate contemporary as well as historical narratives of recession and socioeconomic disenfranchisement. Contemporary films and television series (or episodes) to be considered may include the following as well as other works. Older works may also be addressed which focus on labor history and socioeconomic disenfranchisement such as The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Sullivan’s Travels (1941), Salt of the Earth (1954), Norma Rae (1979), Country (1984), Wall Street (1987), etc.:
2009: Up in the Air, The Collapse, We All Fall Down: The American Mortgage Crisis, American Casino, Capitalism: A Love Story, Armored, The Foreclosure, The Pit
2010: Inside Job, Casino Jack, The Flaw, Overdose, Casino Jack and the United States of Money, Mother’s Day, Freakonomics, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
2011: Too Big to Fail, The Glass Man, The Company Men, Margin Fail, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, Something Ventured, Atlas Shrugged: Part I
2012: Detropia, The Bailout, Arbitrage, Capital, The Queen of Versailles, Hank: Five Years from the Brink, Goldman Sachs: Bank that Runs the World, We’re Not Broke
2013: The Wolf of Wall Street, Assault on Wall Street, Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve
2014: Another World, 99 Homes, Cesar Chavez
2015: Requiem for the American Dream, The Big Short, Boom Bust Boom
2016: Hell or High Water, Equity, Money Monster, Waffle Street, “Billions,” The Founder, All We Had
2017: Going In Style, The Crash, Betting on Zero, The Street Where We Live
Television series (or episodes): “The Office,” “The Exes,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Middle,” “Nip/Tuck,” “White Collar,” the 2009 PBS Frontline series: “The Madoff Affair,” ,“Breaking the Bank,” “Close to Home,” “Ten Trillion and Counting,” “Inside the Meltdown,” “The Warning,” and the PBS Frontline 2013 episodes: “Money, Power, and Wall Street,” and “The Untouchables”
Submit articles to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and include “Reliving the Crash” in the subject line. Submit only Word (.doc or .docx) articles complete with a cover sheet to include name, title, and institutional affiliation. (Contributors should hold a doctorate in their field of study and have a faculty appointment at a university or college.) Word count should be between 5,000 and 7,500. Contributors should utilize the author-date system of The Chicago Manual of Style.