Lisa Duggan to Speak September 7

Lisa Duggan
New York University
Welcome to the Fall 2018 semester!  The English Department is happy to announce that our first big event of the semester will take place on Friday, September 7, at 3 PM, in Marvin Center 302.  Please join us for a presentation by Professor Lisa Duggan of New York University.  This event is free and open to the public.

From New Times to End Times?
Ayn Rand Explains It All to You
Donald Trump is no John Galt.  But he thinks he is Howard Roark.  Is this misapprehension symptomatic of the political present? Ayn Rand’s 1940s and 50s cult novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged outlined the crisis of welfare state liberalism that led to neoliberal hegemony by the 1980s.  The massive popularity of Atlas Shrugged in particular soared again during the neoliberal crisis of 2008.  Rand fans deployed the novel’s apocalyptic scenario as a warning, recommending more and better neoliberalism as the cure for crisis.  But right wing populists, racial nationalists, and authoritarian tyrants have offered conflicting visions, mixing elements of dystopian and utopian futurism into their political prescriptions.  Trump embodies and enacts these partly clashing, partly overlapping takes on the future of global neoliberalism.  Have we arrived at its End Times or a Zombie New Times of neoliberal revival?  This talk analyzes the popularity and influence of Ayn Rand’s vision, among Trump administration officialsSilicon Valley tech moguls and others, to illuminate the political present.
Lisa Duggan is a journalist, activist, and Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University.  She is author of Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Sensationalism and American Modernity and Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics and the Attack on Democracy, co-author with Nan Hunter of Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture, and co-editor with Lauren Berlant of Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and National Interest.  She is currently co-editing a special issue of The New Inquiry with Tavia Nyong’o on “Misconduct,” and her new book Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and Neoliberal Greed, is forthcoming in the new e-book series she is co-editing with University of California Press, American Studies Now. She was president of the American Studies Association during 2014-2015.

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