The Global Center for Advanced Studies (September-October 2017)

Joshua Ramey, PhD Seminar

Who's Afraid of Neoliberalism?

Course Description

As the term “neoliberal” and “neoliberalism” become increasingly common in mainstream journalism, op-eds, and think pieces, major voices on both the left and right continue to question whether there is, or ever was, such a thing. Who’s afraid of neoliberalism? What is at stake in the denial or the affirmation that there really is or was such a thing? In this four-session seminar, we’ll look at some of the historical and theoretical writing that argues most stridently that yes, in fact, neoliberalism was and is a thing, a coherent thing, and that there are high strategic and tactical stakes for emancipatory politics in learning to recognize the neoliberal movement for what it was and has become. We’ll also look at some of the recent critiques of this position.

Course Objectives

--To provide students with a basic introduction to the history of neoliberalism and theoretical debates about its nature, roots, and effects

--To allow students to engage in critical discussion of the philosophical and political significance of neoliberalism as a historical and contemporary movement

--To provide a theoretical framework for those seeking to build and implement political strategies seeking to counter neoliberal mandates

Lectures Outline

Lecture 1 & 2: Philip Mirowski, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste

Lecture 3, Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos

Lecture 4, Melinda Cooper, Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism