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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2017-18

MALS 276 From Carter to Clinton: U.S. Neoliberalism Comes of Age

This course explores the rise of neoliberalism through disparate strands of political, economic, and cultural history from the early 1970s to the 1990s. The 1970s has been defined by the “oil crisis” that had Americans lined up for gas, the “crisis of confidence” diagnosed by President Jimmy Carter, and the “crisis” of narcissism described as the “Me Decade.” Until recently the 1970s was dismissed with embarrassed references to defeat and self-indulgence. Yet it was the decade in which far-reaching and threatening economic shifts became evident and changes prompted by the political rebellions and social upheavals of the 1960s took hold in unexpected ways. The New Right sharpened the cultural critique and grassroots strategies that would yield Ronald Reagan’s major conservative victories in the 1980s and cement neoliberal governing assumptions. Left activists’ attempts to institutionalize the gains of feminism, black power, and gay liberation that would continue to provoke challenges into the 1990s, when Bill Clinton’s “third way” campaign stood as a referendum on the policies of the past. Drawing on primary sources, historical analyses, and cultural criticism, this course explores three decades of Americans’ engagement with globalization, social inequality, and cultural contestation.


Julia Rabig