In her 2008 Massey Lectures, Margaret Atwood calls debt “that peculiar nexus where money, narrative or story, and religious belief intersect, often with explosive force.” Today, we are facing an explosion of discourses foregrounding financial debt. Whether in the Euro Zone Debt Crisis, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, or rising student loan debt, narrative and debt cannot be decoupled, nor can they be detached from a given political or affective investment. In addition to the obvious economic concerns, we are also interested in widening the discussion of debt: How do literature and cultural products help us make sense of these issues? In what ways are individual authors and texts indebted to the social, cultural, or historical moment in which they are situated? How are current and historic discourses--be they social, literary, or philosophical--shaped by representations of debt and indebtedness?
We welcome proposals from students at all levels and in all areas of graduate study. This three-day conference will be held August 17-19, 2012 at Dalhousie University, located in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
We invite proposals for papers (15-20 minutes) on themes and subjects including, but not limited to:
● Literary and cultural debts: mentors, movements, sources of influence
● Marxist literary theory; the sociology of literature; cultural materialism
● The Great Depression; the current Depression
● Gambles, speculation, debtors’ prison
● Wills, inheritance, legacies
● Crashes, scams and financial scandals
● Deals with the Devil
● Religious debts (alms giving, sacrifice, forgiveness, etc.)
● Colonial aftermaths; reparations
● Genre literature, genre studies
● Plagiarism, quotation, “borrowing”
● Worlds without capitalism: utopias and speculative fiction
Keynote speakers include: Glenn Willmott (Queens), Len Diepeveen (Dalhousie), Sara Malton (Saint Mary's).
Submission: 250-word abstract plus cover letter with name, current level of graduate study, affiliated university, and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the words "conference abstract" in subject line, and include name on the cover letter only.
DEADLINE: March 30, 2012. Accepted presenters will receive notification by the end of April.
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