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The Novelistic Individual in the Age of Microeconomics (1871-2008)

April 25, 2016 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Monday Seminar:

Annie McClanahan

UW System Fellow (2015-2016)

English, UW-Milwaukee


What does microeconomics—the study of small-scale consumer decisions—have to do with the modern novel? Microeconomics seems to have more to do with mathematical formalism than with literary form, and yet its emphasis on the desires and pleasures of the individual shares much with the modern novel’s increased fascination with psychological interiority. Taking microeconomics and the novel as concomitant developments in the theory of the individual in society, this talk explores the difference between humanist and anti-humanist individualism, turning in its conclusion to the problem of the individual in a period of capitalist crisis.


Annie McClanahan is an Assistant Professor of English at UW Milwaukee. Her book Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and 21st Century Culture will appear from Stanford University Press in fall 2016. Her new project, “A Cultural History of Microeconomics,” will explore the ways in which microeconomics has both drawn on and shaped critical theory and cultural production. Her work has appeared in Representations, The Journal of Cultural Economy, Journal of American Studies, Post45, South Atlantic Quarterly, symploke, and qui parle.


April 25, 2016
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 United States