2017 MRG CFP

The Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Marxist Reading Group

Genre and the Crisis of Narrative

Keynote Speakers: Peter Hitchcock, Mathias Nilges, Nnedi Okorafor

23-25 March 2017

University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

As a cultural dominant, neoliberalism inhibits our ability to think the future. As Mathias Nilges argues, the temporal crisis of neoliberalism  has been accompanied by a crisis of narrative in contemporary cultural forms. As the enabling fictions of neoliberalism increasingly become reality, what narrative forms can help us to once again imagine the future as difference? At this conference, we suggest that interrogating genre can help to provide narrative solutions to this impasse.

Neoliberalism’s crisis of narrative, and the attempts to resolve it, are apparent in the recent proliferation of genre narratives. Lately, popular genres have not only maintained their status as popular genres but have also infiltrated everything from serious ‘literary’ fiction (Ruth Ozeki, Colson Whitehead, Charles Yu),  independent art films (Ana Lily Amirpour, Jim Jarmusch, Lars von Trier), graphic novels (Daniel Clowes), to prestige television (original series from HBO and Netflix).. Rather than registering our inability to narrate our way out of a neoliberal vacuum, we argue that these turns to genre across an array of media indicate that rethinking genre is integral to both narrating the present and thinking beyond it. Moreover, we believe the study of culture during neoliberalism’s crisis of narrative requires a fundamental rethinking of the relations between genre and politics.

The MRG invites scholars of any discipline to clarify and explore questions such as: How can genre help us imagine a post-capitalist future? Are the dominant ways we talk about genre limiting? How can genre be more than a commodity under the conditions of neoliberalism? How do we periodize genres? What productive temporal dissonances do generic narratives produce? To what extent are such narrative crises global or planetary?

Please submit an abstract of up to 250 words with 4-5 keywords for a 20-minute presentation, along with contact information, to theufmrg@gmail.com by Friday 27  January 2017. We will also consider panel proposals, but do ask that panelists represent multiple institutions. Please provide a brief description and rationale along with the panelists’ abstracts. Please indicate any a/v requests, and let us know if you have participated in past MRG conferences or if you are a UF-MRG alumnus. Authors of accepted presentations will be notified by February 5, 2017. For questions concerning the conference, please contact us at theufmrg@gmail.com  For more information, visit our website: http://www.english.ufl.edu/mrg/.