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2015 Spring Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Community... has ended
Wednesday, April 22 • 10:50am - 11:10am
­­The Neoliberal Bildungsroman: Individual and National “Development” in Peter Mountford’s A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism and Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger

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In reference to the protagonist of Peter Mountford’s A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism (2011), Leerom Medovoi writes, “Gabriel is left, by the novel’s end, to represent nothing more than the declining power of a United States that can no longer pretend that its greatest opportunities still lie ahead.” What is left in the wake of the waning power of the United States as an empire? Peter Mountford’s A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism and Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger (2008) are two contemporary novels that portray contradictory potentials for the future of the global economy. Mountford’s novel depicts Bolivia’s shift towards leftist policies and a potential rejection of neoliberal economics. Adiga demonstrates the reverse, as rising India looks to replace America as the new neoliberal powerhouse. Both novels epitomize an emergent phenomenon in contemporary fiction which I call “the neoliberal bildungsroman.” The protagonist of each book comes-of-age in the current era of what Fredric Jameson calls “multinational,” or “late capitalism,” learning how to succeed within this new economic paradigm. By fully embracing the ideology and practices of neoliberalism, both protagonists set out on an uncompromising path of destruction and deceit, looking to succeed by any means necessary. This essay will attempt to demonstrate how the portrayal of neoliberalism through the scope of a bildungsroman serves to inform our perception of contemporary economic policies and its effects on both individuals and entire nations, as they learn how to survive within the dominating force that is neoliberalism.

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Wednesday April 22, 2015 10:50am - 11:10am
038 Karpen Hall