NeMLA 2021 Session: Narratives of the Economy in the Global South
The global COVID-19 crisis, and its economic fallout, have re-established two facts - that the economy is a fictive category, and that its inimitable centrality derives essentially from the power of its narratives. Prior to actual policies of austerity or re-openings of the economy, there exist narratives of weathering storms as character-building or the inalienable connection between economic and individual freedom. These narratives help us imagine the economy as a system; most often it becomes palpable because we have learned to tell stories about its origins, maintenance, purity, precarity, and futures. These stories acquire unique characteristics in the global south, a geopolitical category itself that narrativizes economic agon. If decolonization had its cognates in narratives of rebirth, and this present crisis marks the end of globalization as we knew it, what stories about the economy can the global south survive with? From this vantage, what narratives do we read in varied economic histories and geographies, or in governance and policies? How have imaginative literature and cinema been constituted by these narratives? This seminar invites abstracts that engage with these questions from a wide variety of disciplines - literature, economics, history, sociology, politics, cinema studies, to name but a few.