Debt: Money/Narrative/Belief (August 17-19, 2012)
In her 2008 Massey Lectures, Margaret Atwood calls debt "that peculiar nexus where money, narrative or story, and religious belief intersect, often with explosive force." Today, we are facing an explosion of discourses foregrounding financial debt. Whether in the Euro Zone Debt Crisis, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, or rising student loan debt, narrative and debt cannot be decoupled, nor can they be detached from a given political or affective investment. In addition to the obvious economic concerns, we are also interested in widening the discussion of debt: How do literature and cultural products help us make sense of these issues? In what ways are individual authors and texts indebted to the social, cultural, or historical moment in which they are situated? How are current and historic discourses--be they social, literary, or philosophical--shaped by representations of debt and indebtedness?
Since few know more about debt than graduate students, the Dalhousie Association of Graduate Students in English (DAGSE) invites submissions for paper presentations for its interdisciplinary graduate student conference: "Debt: Money/Narrative/Belief." We welcome proposals from students at all levels and in all areas of graduate study. This three-day conference will be held August 17-19, 2012 at Dalhousie University, located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and will investigate the ways in which literature, history, art, and culture shape and are shaped by discourses and experiences of debt.
We invite proposals for papers (15-20 minutes) on themes and subjects including, but not limited to:
● Literary and cultural debts: mentors, movements, sources of influence
● Marxist literary theory; the sociology of literature; cultural materialism
● The Great Depression; the current Depression
● Gambles, speculation, debtors' prison
● Wills, inheritance, legacies
● Crashes, scams and financial scandals
● Deals with the Devil
● Religious debts (alms giving, sacrifice, forgiveness, etc.)
● Colonial aftermaths; reparations
● Genre literature, genre studies
● Plagiarism, quotation, "borrowing"
● Worlds without capitalism: utopias and speculative fiction
Submission: 250-word abstract plus cover letter with name, current level of graduate study, affiliated university, and email address to email@example.com. Include the words "conference abstract" in subject line, and include name on the cover letter only.
Deadline: March 15, 2012. Accepted presenters will receive notification by the end of April.
Contact the Organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the conference.
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