The Society for Critical Exchange
Current Projects

New Economic Criticism
New Economic Criticism has developed into one of the SCEs most extensive projects. Over the past decade, the project has produced one major book (with a second in the works), two dedicated conferences (one national, the other international), numerous panels at national and regional MLA conventions, and a number of additional publications.
As an interdisciplinary project which began with small meetings and developed into a major research initiative, this project embodies the model of collaborative research which the SCE most strongly desires to promote and support.
But that doesn't mean we're done with it--indeed, we look forward to continued vitality in this area, and encourage members to come forward with further suggestions and developments for future events. Please feel free to contact the SCE directors either to join in or to expand the project.
Below is a brief history of the project, with links to its major events--conference programs, panels, and publications.
A spin-off project on The Question of the Gift emerged from the 1998 MLA sessions on that topic, and is well under way to producing a book-length collection of essays, under the editorship of Mark Osteen.
Critical exchange between scholars in literature and economics began in 1991 with the appearance on SCE programs at the MMLA and MLA conventions of University of Iowa economist Deirdre McCloskey, known for her work in the rhetoric of economics. With McCloskey's help, the project initiators, Mark Osteen and Martha Woodmansee, brought together forty economists interested in critical examination of their discipline and sixty literary scholars, including Marc Shell, Jennifer Wicke, and Barbara Herrnstein Smith, as well as many younger scholars whose work intersects the concerns of economics in diverse ways, for a landmark conference, "The New Economic Criticism," at CWRU in 1994. A collection of papers stemming from this exchange,The New Economic Criticism, was published by Routledge in 1999.
In the next phase of the project, Regenia Gagnier and John Dupré convened an international array of scholars working at the intersection of the two disciplines in July 1998 at the University of Exeter. Building on the 1994 conference, the Exeter meeting on "Culture and Economics" sharpened study in several areas: three of these--theories of production, consumption, and value--are the focus of a collection of essays that published by New Literary History. The contents of that volume are reproduced in the sidebar.
The New Economic Criticism project joined with the Cultures of Writing project to host panels on the "Economies of Writing," at the 2000 MLA, and "New Histories of Writing," at the 2001 MMLA.
One of the developments on the horizon for the project is to develop Jacqueline Taylor's suggestion that the topic of "Trust" could hold potential for interdisciplinary study. Trust is fundamental to the social compact and indeed pervades our daily lives. We entrust many features of our lives (economic, political, medical, legal, informational) to others. Sociologists, economists, philosophers, and literary critics are increasingly recognizing that trust underpins in crucial ways social relations and our sense of ourselves. Yet it has received little interdisciplinary attention. If you would be interested in leading, or just participating in, a project on "Trust," contact the directors or Nancy Potter (nlpott01[at]


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