Today, Macalester College's Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department hosted Dr. Miranda Joseph to talk about gendered subjects as constructed through economic hegemonies. Dr. Miranda Joseph is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Arizona - her first book, Against the Romance of Community, utilizes Marxist theory to examine the hyper-idealized vocabulary of community. She is currently working on a project called A Debt to Society, which is the research she drew from for her speech tonight.
Dr. Joseph walked us through the basic progression of economics in the U.S. - starting with a production-based late 19th century, moving to a consumption-happy mid-20th century. She argues that post-1970s, the idea of the individual as the financer came to the forefront in response to lowered wages. Finance created a system of credit and debt to make up for this lost income. Today, our personal identities are inextricably linked to our ability to finance, as Dr. Joseph highlighted in noting that "identity theft" primarily refers to a stolen credit card. After the 2008 financial crisis, a narrative was constructed to explain the economic collapse, which blamed the individual for making poor choices about mortgages they couldn't afford or understand. Dr. Joseph's research analyzes how gender and sexuality are implicated in this narrative, via marketing strategies, popular culture, and social science scholarship/research.