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.
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.
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
is a brief history of the project, with links to its major events--conference
programs, panels, and publications.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]athena.louisville.edu).