Extending the New Economic Criticism -- Society of Early Americanists (SEA), March 3-5, 2011. CFP Deadline: Sept. 20, 2010

full name / name of organization: 
David J. Carlson, Chad Luck - California State University, San Bernardino

The past twenty-five years have witnessed an increasingly impressive body of work located at the intersection of literary and economic studies. This "new economic criticism," as it is sometimes called, has focused attention on the ways in which diverse economic theories and practices inform and infuse literary cultural production. Conversely, economic criticism is also attuned to the ways in which literature pushes back, to the ways in which "aesthetic" or "literary" practices undergird the supposedly more "rigorous" traditions of political economy and classical economics. Early American culture has proven to be an especially vibrant area of focus for scholarly investigations of this sort. Critics have recently produced important work in relation to speculation and debt economics, market growth and the culture of sentiment, and the cultural history of underwriting, to name only a few areas. Early American Literature's recent special issue on "Economics and Early American Literature" only underscores the continuing vitality of this critical conversation.

This panel seeks to extend and illuminate the conversation on early American literature and economics by soliciting papers that push economic scholarship in new directions or that provide fresh angles on ongoing discussions. While all of the key discourses of contemporary economic criticism are in play—credit, value, money, debt, etc.—we are also interested in expanding the purview of "economic" by considering new links between the literary and the economic. Some possible avenues of investigation might include:

• Property practices in early American culture
• Narratives of possession or dispossession
• The discourses of contract and equity
• The cultural and material histories of theft
• Counterfeiting
• Economics and political rights
• The economics of print culture

Abstracts (500 words maximum) are due by September 20, 2010 and should be emailed to both panel chairs. Please include academic affiliation with all submissions.