Representations of Class Intersectionality (ACLA 2019)

deadline for submissions: 
September 19, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
ACLA 2019 // March 7th-10th // Georgetown University
contact email: 

Representations of Class Intersectionality

ACLA 2019 — March 7th - 10th

Georgetown University, Washington DC

In Social Class in the 21st Century, Mike Savage reframes social categorization based on the way class is parsed through lived experience. But, for as instructive as this reframing is, it also reveals the intricacy and pliability of class definitions, underscoring how “working-class” often serves as an adjective to social categories more readily subject to discrimination. For example, Sylvia Arthur recently discussed the juncture of ethnicity and class in Know Your Place (2017), stressing the anxieties and tensions of racialized class stigma felt in institutional spaces ordinarily earmarked for the elite. However, Arthur also notes how class delineations, writ large, tend to strip away cultural identity through homogenization even when markers of racial difference remain: “Our Blackness is indivisible from the perception of us as proletarian, a centuries-old mythology that no amount of advancement has managed to dislodge.” Given the conspicuous role of working-class identities in present-day political upheavals, representations of class intersectionality in cultural texts help illuminate pressing issues and offer productive ways of approaching working-class identity as more dynamic and flexible than the kind of rigid definitions of the past.

Consequently, this panel will explore the way contemporary cultural production and media representation addresses the intersection of class with issues of race, gender, sexuality, and ability, focusing specifically on the notion of “double stigmatization” as well as conflicts between discrete identity markers. It will interrogate the current state of class analysis, considering what work still needs to be done to dislodge stereotypes of working-class people and to address shifts in terms of what constitutes “work” itself. How is class bias interlaced with other forms of discrimination? Do social categories operate autonomously or are they combined? To what degree does one social category mask another? To what degree has deindustrialization and shifting definitions of labor impacted other social categories beyond class? How might a comparative study of the arts help us to understand such categories in ways that might complement work in other disciplines?

This panel seeks paper proposals that investigate the interplay between working-class subject positions and other social categories that subjugate and marginalize both individuals and groups. Papers should aim to highlight the way representation in cultural production elucidates or complicates our understanding of class intersectionality.

Contact for any questions:

Simon Lee — slee168@ucr.edu

Nick Bentley — n.bentley@keele.ac.uk

Proposals must be submitted through the ACLA portal between Thursday, August 30th, and Thursday, September 20th (submissions close early: 9 am EST).