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The A. Owen Aldridge Prize Citation 2016

The 2016 A. Owen Aldridge Prize is awarded to Laura Finch, a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, for her essay entitled "Globalizing Finance: Nostalgia, Desire, and the Market in Contemporary Shanghai."

After opening with an epigraph from American writer Don Delillo’s 2003 Cosmopolis and briefly reviewing the global range of sitings of contemporary finance novels, from Pakistan to Nigeria to Dubai, the essay takes up in depth Five Star Billionaire, a 2014 novel by Malaysian-British writer Tash Aw. Aw’s novel follows the fates of five different Malaysians as they make their way to, and their fortune or misfortune in, Shanghai. As she recounts the varied stories of these characters, Finch takes us on a wild ride through Chinese history, fashion, and the translation of Western finance fictions and self-help books into Chinese, among other things. This analysis is carried out within a framework of financial theory by Giovanni Arrighi and Fredric Jameson.

In a field of entries that was both numerous and of high quality, this essay stood out from among the crowd. One of the judges characterized Ms. Finch’s essay as "a brilliant analysis of Five Star Billionaire in the context of popular Western fictions of finance, drawing close attention to forms of time and providing new lenses for rethinking global markets." Another judge adds that Ms. French has written a "fascinating, engaging, and well researched article on finance capitalism in a global context [that] effectively engages and questions the US-based framework of much scholarship in critical finance studies through the analysis of Five Star Billionaire."

We congratulate the author on her sophisticated and comparative approach to critical finance studies that has made this essay a worthy recipient of the 2016 Aldridge Prize.
The 2016 A. Owen Aldridge Prize Committee:
Stephanie Hilger (Univerisity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
Karen Thornber (Harvard University)
Tomislav Longinovic (University of Wisconsin)