Vai alla Homepage del Portale di Ateneo Curriculum Global cultures Second cycle degree/Two year Master in History and Oriental Studies


Roberto Ventresca (University of Padova)

from 29 November 2021 at 17:00 to 02 December 2021 at 18:45

Aula Specola and ONLINE

This seminar conceptualizes, maps and historicizes how the transnational circulation of neoliberal-oriented policies, practices and ideas turned into a far-reaching paradigm shift in the management of modern societies during the 20th century. A source-based historiographic perspective will be offered to explore the manifold political and institutional contexts within which the transnational ‘neoliberal thought collective’ took shape between the early 1920s and the early 1990s. In this respect, the history of neoliberalism will be retraced by investigating its intellectual roots in post-WWI Europe, its transatlantic spread between the 1930s and the early Cold War period, its ‘postcolonial momentum’ in the wake of the decolonization, and its (alleged?) transnational triumph after the ‘shock of the global’ in the 1970s and the 1980s. Neoliberalism’s main conceptual pillars, debates, advocates, as well as organizational features will be framed within a long-term historiographic account, whose narrative builds on the methodological combination of international history, the history of ideas, and the international economic relations. The main goal of this seminar is thus to illuminate both the ‘materiality’ and the conflicting intellectual construction of neoliberalism across changing political arenas and multilayered institutional frameworks throughout the 20th century.


Class 1

The origins of the transnational neoliberal community and its intellectual assumptions: The genealogy of the neoliberal thought collective.

  •  Dieter Plehwe, “Introduction”, in The Road from Mont Pèlerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective, ed. Philip Mirowski, Dieter Plehwe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), 1-42.
  •  Hagen Schulz-Forberg, “Modern Economic Thought and the “Good Society”’, in The Cambridge History of Modern European Thought, volume 2, The Twentieth Century, ed. Peter E. Gordon, Warren Breckman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 361-390.


Class 2

Between the Interwar period, the Cold war and Decolonization: Neoliberal subjects, institutional networks, and the struggle to design a global economic order.

  • Daniel Stedman Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), chapter 2, ‘The 1940s: The Emergence of the Neoliberal Critique’, 30-84.
  • Quinn Slobodian, Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018), chapter 7, ‘A World of Races’, 146-181.


Class 3

The ‘shock of the global’ and the rise of the post-Keynesian consensus: How and why neoliberals gained momentum.

  • Charles S. Maier, ‘‘Malaise’: The Crisis of Capitalism in the 1970s’, in The Shock of the Global: The 1970s in Perspective, ed. Niall Ferguson et al. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), 25-48
  • Matthias Schmelzer, ‘What Comes After Bretton Woods? Neoliberals’ Debates and Fight for a Future Monetary Order’, in Nine Lives of Neoliberalism, ed. Dieter Plehwe, Quinn Slobodian, Philip Mirowski (London-New York: Verso, 2020), 197-218.


Class 4

An empirical case study: the process of European integration as a test-bed for the conflicting implementation of neoliberalism.

  •  Aurélie Andry, Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol, Haakon A. Ikonomou & Quentin Jouan, ‘Rethinking European integration history in light of capitalism: the case of the long 1970s’, European Review of History, 26, 4 (2019), 553-572.
  •  Dieter Plehwe, Quinn Slobodian, Neoliberals Against Europe?, in Mutant Neoliberalism: Market Rule and Political Rupture, ed. William Callison and Zachary Manfredi, New York, Fordham University Press, 2020, 89-111.