Cultural Aspects of American Neoliberalism

Course title: Cultural Aspects of American Neoliberalism
Instructor: Asst. Prof. Sven Cvek
ECTS credits: 6
Status: elective
Semester: 2nd or 4th
Enrollment requirements: enrollment in the graduate program
Course description: Starting from the assumption about the inseparability of the economic, political, and cultural spheres, the course offers an overview of the main social processes related to the emergence and development of US neoliberalism. The course covers the historical period between two economic crises, 1973 and 2008, and follows the cultural articulations of the gradual undoing of the legacy of the New Deal and the parallel rise of the ideas of the Chicago school of economics. Neoliberalism is considered in relation to: liberalism, neoconservativism, the problematic of space, democratic politics, work, and moments of crisis. These topics are studies by relying predominantly, but not exclusively, on works of fiction and film.
Objectives: acquiring knowledge about the development neoliberal ideas and practices; critical approach to social-historica processes; introduction to relevant literature.
Course requirements: regular attendance, written tests, essay paper.

Jonathan Franzen, The 27th City
Bonnie Jo Campbell, The American Salvage
Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis
Po Bronson, Bombardiers

selection of films and series:
Harlan County U.S.A. (Barbara Kopple, 1976)
Blue Collar (Paul Schrader, 1978)
Roger and Me (Michael Moore, 1989)
Wall Street (Oliver Stone, 1987)
Bob Roberts (Tim Robbins, 1992)
Office Space (Mike Judge, 1999)
The Wire (David Simon, 2002-08)
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (Spike Lee, 2006)
Generation Kill (Ed Burns, David Simon, Evan Wright, 2008)
Sleep Dealer (Alex Rivera, 2008)
Frozen River (Courtney Hunt, 2008)
Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik, 2010)
Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols, 2011)
Margin Call (J.C. Chandor, 2011)
In Time (Andrew Niccol, 2011)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)
The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015)
UnREAL (Marti Noxon, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, 2015)

– Nikhil Pal Singh, “Liberalism,” In Keywords for American Cultural Studies, ed. Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler, New York and London: NYU Press, 2007: 139-44.

– Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978-1979. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. (selection)
– David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford & New York: Oxford UP, 2007. (selection)
– Jane L. Collins, Micaela di Leonardo and Brett Williams, ed. New Landscapes of Inequality: Neoliberalism and the Erosion of Democracy in America, Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2008. (selection)
– Wendy Brown, “American Nightmare: Neoliberalism, Neoconservatism, and De-Democratization,” Political Theory, Vol. 34, No. 6 (Dec., 2006), pp. 690-714.
– Jodi Melamed, “The Spirit of Neoliberalism: From Racial Liberalism to Neoliberal Multiculturalism,” Social Text, 89, Vol. 24, No. 4, Winter 2006.

Further reading:
– Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982 (1962).
– Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2007. (selection).
– Paul Krugman, “For Richer,” The New York Times, October 20, 2002.
– Lisa Duggan, The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press, 2003. (selection).
– Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005. (selection).