23 June 2009

Magical Money

The end of the academic year has brought a bountiful crop of CFPs, or calls for papers. I'm going to feature some of my favorites on Oz and Ends this week.

On 1-3 Oct 2009, the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg will play host to an academic conference on “Fairy Tale Economies.” Its call for papers wins the award for most thorough use of bullet points; just when you think you're out, they pull you back in:

Mindful of our own global economies, this colloquium addresses economies in fantastic literature and culture. We shall identify economy both as a theme within literatures and as a way of thinking about the value of fantastic literature itself. . . .

We encourage scholars to think creatively about this conference theme, and invite papers on topics including but not limited to:

Economy of fairy tales
  • As a genre: the brevity of its narrative, the economy of its words, the size of its books.
  • The economy of fairy tale publications and adaptations: the market for fairy tales, production and consumption costs (both literal and figurative), the careers of writers.
Economy in fairy tales
  • Economic systems within fairy tales
  • The worth of people and things
  • Economies of the body and social body
  • Discourses of poverty, wealth, and class status
Economy and fairy tales
  • Ideas of worth and value associated with the fairy tale
  • The fairy tale as a renewable resource or recycled form across genres and eras.
  • The ways in which various (current or past) economic discourses have been shaped by fairy tale structures, motifs and themes
Even more broadly, we invite proposals that investigate ideas of “value,” “worth,” “profit,” as well as “conservation,” “sustainability,” and “recycling” with reference to:
  • Book history and genre adaptation
  • Narrative “unrealism”--the Gothic, supernatural, or uncanny
  • Fantastic and uncanny bodies of all kinds
Proposals should outline topic, as well as theoretical and disciplinary framework. Please send proposals (300 word maximum), together with a brief biography that indicates academic affiliation and scholarly activity by June 30, 2009 to Dr. Molly Clark Hillard. (We also invite proposals from graduate students: please indicate status in your biography.)
One of my own favorite fairylands doesn't use money--but of course it still has an economy. Yet the most widely repeated economic interpretation of that fairyland remains worthless.

(Picture above courtesy of Old Book Art's posting on John R. Neill's color plates for The Marvelous Land of Oz. It shows the Scarecrow at a time when he was stuffed with money instead of straw.)

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