Dartmouth Events

Lisa Duggan (NYU) on Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed

RMS Consortium/WGSS Stonewall Lecture: Lisa Duggan's Lecture on Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed

Thursday, November 14, 2019
4:30pm – 6:30pm
Steele 006
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

The Consortium of Studies in Race, Migration, and Sexuality and the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program present our Consortium/Stonewall Lecture, co-sponsored by the Ethics Institute and the Government Department:

Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed

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 officials, Silicon 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. This lecture is based on her book Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed, published in the University of California Press series American Studies Now. She was president of the American Studies Association during 2014-2015.


For more information, contact:
Consortium of Studies in Race, Migration, and Sexuality

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.