(photo from here)

Wednesdays, 7-9:30 pm. Meeting in Brooks Hall second floor conference room.

Allison Alexy
alexy [at] virginia.edu / Brooks Hall 207
Office hours: Wednesdays 10am-noon, and by appointment; Sign up via the Collab page

This course offers an introduction to a newly omnipresent term in anthropology and the social sciences - neoliberalism. Referring to political, economic, and social structures, neoliberalism describes a preference for private, individual, or non-governmental responsibilities. Far from taking the term's new centrality for granted, this course investigates the rise of neoliberalsm, both socially and in academic contexts. We will frame our investigation around ethnographic monographs, and the following questions:

What is neoliberalism? How is it variously defined and constructed in different contexts? Is it a concrete ideology or set of policies?

How new is neoliberalism? What are its historical antecedents? Why, for whom, and in what contexts is it understood as new?

What are the social effects of various beliefs and actions defined as “neoliberalism”? What does neoliberalism do to and for people?

What have various beliefs in neoliberalism been used to do within political contexts? Economic contexts? Personal and intimate contexts?

How do economics, politics, and cultural forms intersect? When and how is it necessary to separate these categories, and when might it be more accurate to understand their intersection?

Why do contemporary American anthropologists talk so much about neoliberalism? How has the concept engaged the discipline? What does this new attention to neoliberalism avoid or ignore?