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Grande Recessione, finanza e promessa nel romanzo statunitense di immigrazione: The Wangs vs the World di Jade Chang e Behold the Dreamers di Imbolo Mbue

Cinzia Schiavini


Great Recession, finance and promise in the U.S. immigration novel: The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang and Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Besides the complexity of market structures, the 2008 financial crisis (or Great Recession) has also testified how the representation of the crisis has often been also the crisis of representation: largely focused on the so-called “fiction of the Capital”, and on the white middle and upper-middle class, literature has often been unable to transcend the limits of the traditional “neoliberal” novel and its national(ist) perspective, and investigate the effects of the crisis on ethnic communities, where racial discrimination has long paralleled the economic one. The regenerative potential of the crisis in the XXI century explored by Richard Gray (2011) and the contiguities between derivative finance and language investigated by Appadurai (2016) are the starting point for an exploration of the Great Recession through the immigrant/migrant eyes in two ethnic novels: Jade Chang’s The Wangs vs the World (2016), a comic Coast-to-Coast trip eastward bound involving a wealthy and conflictual Chinese family whose financial ruin leads to the search for their luck back East; and Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers (2016), the story of a Cameroonian couple and their attempts for a new life in New York chasing the American Dream in the shadow of the Lehman Brothers collapse. In these two novels, the crisis is explored in relation to the concept of the “promise”, at the core of the immigrant experience – both in cultural and linguistic terms; and with the re-negotiations and the new forms of transnational identities imposed by the crisis, that questions the virtual and real value (and price) of the American Dream.


Grande Recessione; Imbolo Mbue; Jade Chang; letteratura etnica; romanzo americano contemporaneo.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2022-001-schi

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Call for papers Vol 11 (2024) No 1 - Discourses, Methods and Practices of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging: Towards a Global Shared Framework
Edited by Dr. Paola Catenaccio (Università degli Studi di Milano) and Dr. Fadia Nordtveit (Springfield College)

Authors have to read through the Information for Authors and the Author guidelines carefully before beginning the submission process. 
Deadline for papers submission: January 15th, 2024
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Final versione due by May 15th, 2024
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Authors have to read through the Information for Authors and the Author guidelines carefully before beginning the submission process.
Deadline for papers submission: June 10th, 2024
Request for revision following peer review: by September 10th, 2024
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Lingue Culture Mediazioni - Languages Cultures Mediation
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (27/11/2013 n. 380)
Online ISSN 2421-0293 - Print ISSN 2284-1881

Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature, Culture e Mediazioni  
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