What Gives?: Formal Change after Catastrophe (NeMLA 2022)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Jackie O'Dell / UMass Dartmouth
contact email: 

In the wake of COVID, some workers have been deemed essential, forced to put their lives at risk to keep the market moving or care for those with the means to stay off the frontlines. While these jobs may be crucial, those who perform them are frequently treated as exchangeable.Yet as workers have become interchangeable, a fantastical contrast has emerged in the form of the non-fungible token (NFT): at the same time that stable employment and livable wages have been cut in the interest of profit, digital creations become irreplaceable tokens of payment. The catastrophic impact of the pandemic shows which systems of exchange are malleable or fluid and which remain brittle or stagnant. This panel is interested in how forms of labor and exchange respond to catastrophe. We invite explorations of what recent representations of catastrophe and its aftermath can tell us about these shifts. After catastrophe, what social, economic, and environmental precarities alter the value of labor? How does catastrophe shift the distinction between essential and exchangeable labor? What systems exhibit the plasticity that can accommodate catastrophe? We welcome papers from any theoretical framework.


This panel welcomes papers that pursue these questions from any theoretical tradition or intersectional framework.

Please submit abstracts via the NeMLA website at: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/19377 by September 30, 2021. After creating a free login, you can upload or paste abstracts to the website for the "What Gives?: Labor and Exchange after Catastrophe" panel. 

Contact Jackie O'Dell (UMass Dartmouth) at jodell@umassd.edu with any questions. 

NeMLA 2022 will take place March 10-13 in Baltimore, MD. Virtual participation on our panel is an option.