[UPDATE] Capitalist Realist Fiction - Narrative 2015 Chicago (March 5-8, 2015)

full name / name of organization: 
Ian Butcher, Duquesne University
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In his Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, Philip Mirowski puts to rest the myth that the current economy is beyond the understanding even of experts, demonstrating that mainstream economic writing and financial journalism has undertaken a concerted abdication of explanatory authority in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008. This lack of explanation is symptomatic of a much wider issue: what Mark Fisher has termed "capitalist realism," or a resigned acceptance of capitalism and an inability to imagine other possibilities. Crucially, Fisher notes that capitalist realism is an aesthetic challenge as much as a political one, part of a larger inability to represent capitalism that contributes to the lack of understanding about its manifestations and machinations and of proposed alternatives. As part of an attempt to get beyond this crisis of explanatory authority with regard to contemporary capitalism, this panel seeks to explore capitalist realist fictions, those works produced under and shaped/constrained by the limited imaginary horizons afforded by capitalist realism. Registering "the dreariness of late capitalist culture," these fictions can provide the beginnings of an explanatory foundation for the experience of life within neoliberal consumer capitalism, and potentially the coordinates of a post-capitalist world (Dean and Fisher 32). To that end, this panel seeks papers considering the financialization of contemporary fiction generally—the interpenetration of contemporary literature by the language of high finance and the use of financial tools/concepts as thematic or structuring devices—including but not limited to:

Debt as a structuring principle of subjectivity

The aesthetics of gentrification

Representations of financial workers/firms and the shadow economy

Representations of globalized capital flow/labour migration

Post-capitalism and hypercapitalist future worlds and/or the impossibility of narrativizing/representing the future

Submit 250 word abstracts and brief (50-100 word) bios to Ian Butcher (butcheri@duq.edu) by October 10, 2014.