Call for papers

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     Interdisciplinary Postgraduate and Early Career ConferenceFemale Professor

     University of Nottingham

     Friday, 19th June 2015

Money Talks: Inequality and North American Identity

“Let me tell you something. There’s no nobility in poverty. I’ve been a poor man, and I’ve been a

rich man. And I choose rich every time” – Leonardo DeCaprio as Jordan Belfort, TheWolf ofWall

Street (2013)

The Great Recession beginning in 2008 was a firm reminder of how North America’s financial

instability affects our lives the world over. Yet a global focus risks ignoring the particular images

and experiences of inequality within Canada and the U.S. themselves. From the patriarchal log

cabins of the Canadian Rockies and the American Mid-West to the homogenous suburbs of the

1950s, North American economic identity has oftenmarginalised racial and sexual difference.

Parallel fears of elites were conveyed in the populistmovements of the Tea Party and Occupy. In

light of recent events, we should ask: how can or should we engage with financial inequality as

experienced by North Americans? How do we parse cultural representations for insights into

the continent’s divide between rich and poor? How representative is TheWolf ofWall Street’s

Jordan Belfort in expressing North Americans’ desire to ‘choose rich every time’?

For Lauren Berlant, a ‘cruel optimism’ keeps us attached to promises of the good life despite the

retrenchment of post-war welfare programmes and social democratic ideals. Indeed, this denial

often ignores higher African American and Hispanic unemployment rates. Such intersections

between identity and economic inequality, whether in the present or other historical periods,

form the basis of the upcoming international conference organised by 49 Parallel: An

Interdisciplinary Journal of North American Studies. Proposals are invited from postgraduate and

early career researchers in American and Canadian studies, history, English, politics,

philosophy, sociology, art history, economics, film and television studies, international relations,

and other appropriate disciplines. Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to, the


– Representations of economic inequality in literature and popular culture

– ‘Capitalist Realism’ and Neoliberal Hegemony

– Austerity cultures in a North American context

– Identity (sexual, national, racial, etc.) and financial experience

– Populism and economics (Occupy, the Tea Party, etc.)

– Representing economic crisis (The Great Depression, The 2008 Recession, etc).

– “Ruin porn” and the representations of urban decay

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Paul Crosthwaite from the University of Edinburgh as our

keynote speaker.

The deadline for submitting abstracts is the 12th of January 2015. Abstracts should be no longer

than 300 words and should include an additional biography of no more than 75 words. Please email

proposals to Registration for the conference is £15.

Travel and accommodation costs will not be covered. More information forthcoming on our




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