Genre and the Crisis of Narrative

deadline for submissions: 
January 27, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Marxist Reading Group
contact email: 

The Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Marxist Reading GroupGenre and the Crisis of NarrativeKeynote Speakers: Peter Hitchcock, Mathias Nilges, Nnedi Okorafor23-25 March 2017University of Florida, Gainesville, FL As a cultural dominant, neoliberalism inhibits our ability to think the future. Following Mathias Nilges, neoliberalism can be understood as a dialectic of fiction and reality, and its temporal crisis can be said to be accompanied by crises of narrative in contemporary cultural forms. As the enabling fictions of neoliberalism increasingly become reality, what narrative forms can help us to once again imagine the future as difference? At this conference, we suggest that interrogating genre can help to provide narrative solutions to this impasse. Neoliberalism’s crisis of narrative is apparent in the recent proliferation of genre narratives. Lately, popular genres have not only maintained their status as popular genres but have also infiltrated everything from serious ‘literary’ fiction (Ruth Ozeki, Colson Whitehead, Charles Yu), indie film (Ana Lily Amirpour, Jim Jarmusch, Lars von Trier), graphic novels (Daniel Clowes), to prestige television (original series from HBO and Netflix). But do these genres merely register the inability to narrate our way out of a neoliberal vacuum? We think not; these turns to genre across an array of media indicate to us, rather, that rethinking genre is integral to both narrating the present and thinking beyond it. Moreover, we believe the study of culture during neoliberalism’s crisis of narrative requires a fundamental rethinking of the relations between genre and politics. The MRG invites scholars of any discipline to clarify and explore questions such as: How can genre help us imagine a post-capitalist future? Does the dominant way we talk about genre limit the things we can say about genre? How can genre be more than a commodity under the conditions of neoliberalism? How do we periodize genres, and how do we understand other generic crises of earlier historical moments? What productive temporal dissonances do generic narratives produce? To what extent are such narrative crises global or planetary? Please submit an abstract of up to 250 words with 4-5 keywords for a 20-minute presentation, along with contact information, to by Friday 27 January 2017. We will also consider panel proposals, but do ask that panelists represent multiple institutions. Please provide a brief description and rationale along with the panelists' abstracts. Please indicate any a/v requests, and let us know if you have participated in past MRG conferences or if you are a UF-MRG alumnus. Authors of accepted presentations will be notified by February 5, 2017. For questions concerning the conference, please contact us at  For more information, visit our website: