Too often, we think about neoliberalism as a stern tutor of instrumental reason and possessive individualism, reducing us to market actors arbitraging our own speculative value in dating apps, credit ratings, impact rankings, and social media ‘likes.’ But neoliberalism not only consumes and destroys social, affective, and spiritual ties; it also produces new ones.
This talk will explore how Catholic asceticism — including technologies of self-mortification — has been repurposed to sanctify neoliberal economic policy and work.
Bethany Moreton is a Heilbroner Visiting Fellow and Professor of History, Dartmouth College. Julia Ott, Associate Professor of History at The New School for Social Research and editor of Capitalism: A Journal of Economics and History, serve as a discussant and moderator after the lecture.
Registration is required to receive access information to the webinar on zoom.
Bethany Moreton is a Visiting Fellow at the Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies and a Professor of History at Dartmouth College. She co-coordinates Dartmouth’s colloquium in Critical Finance Studies and co-edits the Columbia University Press book series Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism. Her work includes To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Harvard, 2009), which won the OAH’s Frederick Jackson Turner Award and the ASA’s John Hope Franklin Prize; Devotions and Desires: Histories of Religion and Sexuality in the Twentieth-Century United States, (UNC, 2017) co-edited with Gill Frank and Heather White, and many articles and book chapters on the conservative intersections of religion, sex, and economics. She is currently at work on two manuscripts: Fifty Shades of Green: Sexing the History of Capitalism (Zone Books) and Slouching Towards Moscow: American Conservatives and the Romance of Russia (Harvard University Press).When the U.S. state of Georgia banned undocumented immigrants from its public universities in 2010, she co-founded Freedom University to provide free university-level coursework to Georgia high-school graduates regardless of immigration status. She is a founding member of the Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas, now in its sixteenth year of annual bilingual seminars in Mexico.
Julia Ott is an Associate Professor of History at The New School for Social Research. Ott’s current research examines the origins of venture capital as an idea, as a form of investment, and as an organized industry. Between 1937 and 1982, concerns about venture capital gradually reoriented American political culture in a neoliberal direction, in favor of investors and the wealthy. The result was the less innovative and far more unequal economy that we live with today.