Conference: Speculative Endeavours. Cultures of Knowledge and Capital in the Long Nineteenth Century
October 21-23. 2021 (POSTPONED, originally: October 22-24. 2020)
International, Interdisciplinary conference with keynote lectures by Professor Peter Knight (U of Manchester) and Professor Lori Merish (Georgetown U, Washington D.C.)
Organized by Katrin Horn, Selina Foltinek, and Karin Hoepker
Frame and Aim
By 1900, the US had emerged as “the land of speculation” (Stäheli), marked by the increasing incorporation of America and the experience of widespread economic volatility. Influential publications such as Thorstein Veblen’s A Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Women and Economics (1898) furthermore bear witness to the commodification of the supposedly private sphere, in which personal information and confidential communication are intricately tied to economic concerns.
Speculative Endeavors seeks to investigate these shifts and entanglements through the hitherto neglected lens of a variety of illicit, tacit, oral, or subjugated knowledges. These might be marginalized by their association with racial and gendered minorities or they may find expression as innuendo, rumors, gossip, and other ‘speculative’ or supposedly ‘baseless’ modes of transaction and information. The conference aims to facilitate a discussion of how such “inoffical” modes of knowledge relate to new forms of economic transactions and economic thinking (e.g. speculation).
The conference is designed to foster an interdisciplinary debate among scholars in the fields of American studies, literary studies, history of knowledge, economy, history, gender studies, and critical race studies.
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