Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Global Talk: Conversability and Social Control in the New World Economy

Prof. David Simpson.

In the early 18th century literary culture was a primary component of the consolidation of the new political and economic class. The culture of polite conversation held together an effort to reconcile the commercial middle class with the possessors of inherited rank and wealth, evident in the writings of Shaftesbury, Hume, Addison and others. Literature played an important role here. In the late 20th century political scientists are full of enthusiasm for a dialogic model of conflict resolution with a similar emphasis upon conversation and face to face interactions (Habermas, Sandel etc.), but with little or no explicit reference to the circulation of Anglophone literatures. I will ask some questions about this condition: does it offer literary culture a place from which to mount a critique, or in the world novel in English implicitly a tool for the justification of neoliberalism?


Prof. David Simpson  (United States)
Professor, G.B. Needham Fellow
Dept. of English
University of California, Davis

Author or editor of 11 books on Romanticism, literary theory, and American studies; previous positions at Cambridge, Northwestern, Colorado, Columbia.

  • Global culture
  • World novel
  • Dialogic mode
  • Conversation and conversability

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)