Thanks largely to the recent recession, economics has become—for perhaps the first time since the 1980s—a central part of public discourse in America. Economists such as Paul Krugman have become household names, difficult economics texts such as The Black Swan have topped the New York Times Bestsellers list, and hard-to-grasp financial issues such as debt ratings and currency valuations have made it into presidential stump speeches. Within such a context, the de facto position of the humanities with respect to economic logic—that it is either exterior or antithetical to humanistic thought—has been increasingly hard for literature and other humanities disciplines to maintain. The last few years have thus seen an increased interest by both humanities scholars and scholarly organizations in the possibility of a rapprochemont with the discipline of economics.
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