Workshop on the Political Economy of New Orleans
10th of September, 2010
We would like to invite proposals for papers for an interdisciplinary, one-day workshop on the Political Economy of New Orleans, to be held at Tulane University, under the auspices of the Murphy Institute of Political Economy.
New Orleans lies at the mouth of the Mississippi, advantageously located to capture some of the wealth flowing from the farmlands of the U.S. Midwest. New Orleans is also the most important city in Louisiana, with plentiful petroleum resources, and strategically located on the Gulf of Mexico. Further, the city has built a booming tourist trade, attracting revelers for year-round festivities. These sources of abundance have enriched some, yet the citizens of the city and the region generally remain poor. Widespread poverty and vulnerability were exposed by Hurricane Katrina, which provoked significant and rapid changes in the local demography, destroyed many existing assets, stimulated a temporary reconstruction boom, and shifted priorities in the provision of basic public services such as health, housing, and education. To make sense of these short- and long-term trends, this workshop explores the political economy of New Orleans, especially the ways in which market and state mechanisms produce our unique, appealing, and highly inequitable society.
Several initial questions orient the workshop: what are the characteristics of the city’s development in terms of the ways wealth is created and distributed, and what have been the impacts of Hurricane Katrina and the Great Recession? How have the people of New Orleans experienced a changing economy in terms of employment and wages, and how have they organized to resist or to control broader economic trends? How do still unresolved regional issues of race, gender, and class shape wealth, work and politics on the Gulf coast? What political institutions and incentives shape partisan and elite strategy and alliances, and how has this interacted with the city’s economic development? What is the incidence of taxes and government spending on inequality, poverty, and patterns of development? What public services are provided to the city, by which level of government, and how have these aided, distorted, or undermined development in terms of equality, poverty, human capital accumulation, and assets of the poor? Finally, how are these local dynamics related to the insertion of New Orleans and the wider Louisiana and Gulf Coast region in the international economy, and what does this mean for the prospects of sustainable development and the local political economy?
The workshop invites papers from all relevant disciplines addressing these, and other, questions, to be presented and read in a small setting among invited participants. If you would like to present a paper at this workshop, please forward a title and abstract of your paper to Professor Aaron Schneider at email@example.com by May 21st. To encourage ongoing engagement and interaction, contributions are especially encouraged from researchers based in New Orleans and the surrounding region, though funds will be available for contributors from farther away. Discussions have already begun with a publisher to produce an edited volume of the papers presented, and additional funding will be sought to support future research, publication, and policy influence. Organizers of the workshop include Professor Tom Langston, Tulane Political Science, Professor Nora Lustig, Tulane Economics, Professor Steve Striffler, University of New Orleans Anthropology, and Professor Aaron Schneider, Tulane Political Science.
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