SMNR: Colloquium on Law/History/Humanities

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
MON 3:30 - 5:20 pm TNH 3.127

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


INSTRUCTOR APPROVAL REQUIRED. Email Prof. Forbath ( or Prof. Carton (, expressing interest and detailing why you wish to take the seminar. Also attach a copy of your current resume or cv. Colloquium on Law, History & the Humanities: Neoliberalism This will be a genuinely interdisciplinary course, open to second- and third- year law students and to graduate students in the humanities and social sciences, with the permission of the instructors. It will be co-taught by Professor William Forbath of the School of Law and Professor Evan Carton of the English Department and the Humanities Institute. The broad organizing rubric for Spring 2008 will be "Neoliberalism: from above and from below." Our inquiry starts from the widely shared view that the revival of classical liberalism during the last two decades of the twentieth century has proved epoch-making, producing policies, institutions, and social conditions--privatization; deregulation; the contraction of the state and the expansion of market and contract relations across social domains; the curbing of organized labor and the liberation of finance--whose forms and effects have differed in different nations and parts of the globe but whose general sway has been profound. Since the 1990s, neoliberalism has grown more chastened and nuanced. Intellectual and political refinements have emerged; what critics called "free market fundamentalism" has given way. It is a good time for taking stock, and the colloquium aims to do so. Themes and topics of inquiry will include: Law and Economics/Law and Society/Law and Philosophy: Neoliberal Paradigms and their Critics; The Global South: Pathways of Social and Economic Development; Varieties of and Alternatives to Neoliberalism in Particular Policy Domains; Ethnographies of Life Under Neoliberalism During the semester, six leading scholars will present papers, which will provide the principal texts of the course. Students will spend two weeks with each paper. In the first week, students will meet with Professors Carton and Forbath in a traditional seminar format to discuss the paper and its background. In the second week, the scholar who wrote the paper will be present, and the students will be joined by law, history and other humanities and social science faculty members. Students will thus have the opportunity both to engage in their own critical discussion, and to observe and participate in an interdisciplinary conversation with faculty members. Written coursework will consist of short, critical responses or commentaries on each of the six papers that will be presented. Students also will expand one of these short papers into a longer essay to be submitted at the end of the term. The current line-up of visiting presenters includes: Jean Comaroff, University of Chicago, Department of Anthropology; David Harvey, Anthropology, City University of New York Graduate Center; Nancy Postero, Department of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego; Jonathan Simon, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley.