CFP: Wealth and the Commons

full name / name of organization: 
United States Association of Commonwealth Lit and Lang Studies
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"Wealth and the Commons"

A conference organized by the United States Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (USACLALS)

October 12-13, 2014
Sugar Land Marriott Town Square
near Houston, Texas

Call for papers:

The very first conference on Commonwealth Literature held at Leeds University in 1964 led to the formation of the Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies and the gradual establishment of no less than ten regional ACLALS branches in different countries and continents worldwide. In the fifty years since ACLALS' founding, the geographical, political, and cultural scope of the research and publications conducted and produced by the association's members has surpassed the rubric of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Recent ACLALS conferences have examined timely problems and issues related to decolonization and postcoloniality, neo-colonialism and imperialism, diaspora and globalization, staging interdisciplinary conversations between scholars and activists and writers and artists in many different fields and specializations.

To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the inaugural Commonwealth Literature conference, and in line with the global and interdisciplinary turn in ACLALS scholarship, the USACLALS is organizing a conference with the theme "Wealth and the Commons." This theme unpacks the idea of a "Commonwealth" and examines the relationships between capitalism (in its many guises) and the idea of the commons, understood either as public or social goods or as a geographical, socio-political, corporeal, or cultural space (for example, the Boston Common).

The asymmetries between the wealthy and the poor in various countries often resulting from collaboration between authoritarian states and agents of global capital, the increasing monetization and privatization of public goods and services in the name of neoliberal efficiency and optimization, and the emergence of the perverse logic of "affluenza" as a pathology all point to a need to address and reassess the existence and possibilities of commonly shared wealth, heritage, languages and cultures, and socio-political spaces on many different levels and across different disciplines. Given that cities and urban populations are vulnerable to sharp reductions of public goods and services by the neoliberalization of state and municipal economies, and that oil drilling and other methods of extracting natural resources have had severe impact on the environment and climate of the Southwest, this theme is also appropriate for the location of our conference in Sugarland, a suburb of Houston, Texas.

We invite paper proposals on topics including but not limited to:

* the accumulation, circulation, and dispossession of wealth and capital (social, cultural, economic)
* changing notions of wealth and capital in a global, knowledge economy
* the wealth of trans-nations: diasporic communities and multinational corporations
* the emergence of new political, social, and cultural commons
* race, ethnicity, and sexuality in the new digital commons
* the commons as an intersection or conjunction of theories and practices
* re-valuing gender and bodies in or as common spaces
* literary and cultural texts as commons
* religion and religiosity in relation to wealth and commons

Please send 250-word paper proposals by e-mail to by May 15, 2014. Please include your name, affiliation, and 2-4 keywords related to your paper in the proposal.